Monday, December 31, 2007

Going Home

Okay, believe it or not, my New Year's resolution is to blog more. I'm aiming for 2-3 times a week not counting Friday Fives. So, here is the first installment.

I am reading Jan Karon's Home to Holly Springs (a Christmas gift from manBoy). It is her latest book featuring Father Timothy Kavanagh, but it is not set in Mitford. In this book Father Kavanagh returns to his home town after 38 years away. He learns a great deal about his childhood and deals with some of his baggage and ghosts. This book is "heavier" than the Mitford books, but it is good.

I had my own homecoming last week. We spent a few days in my home town last week. I preached at my mom's little church on the 23rd. It was a small group, but the Spirit was there. I will be preaching there each Sunday in January while their pastor goes through chemotherapy.

None of my family lives in my childhood home. It was sold when my parents divorced during my college years. But never the less, we had family together and that made it home. I baked Christmas cookies and Cranberry Glazed Pork Roast from a Friday Five recipes.

We attended Christmas Eve services in the church I where grew up from age 3 to age 25. Gifted & Talented and I were married in that church. We left when G & T was transferred to the big city.

Being in that old familiar sanctuary was a John Wesley type of "heart warming" experience. I was surprised at the sense of good memories I had there. Not specific memories, more of a pleasant nostalgia. You see, my childhood memories are not on the whole happy. But in the last year or so, I have been finding more and more good to remember. It seems I am able to move past the painful parts and recognize the good that also happened.

God of Love, Thank you for the healing you have brought about in my life. Thank you for showing me the good memories mixed in with the difficulties. Let this new stage emotional health enable me to serve you more. Amen.

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's Almost Christmas! Friday Five

The Friday Five at RevGalBlogPals asks these questions:

What was one of your favorite childhood gifts that you gave?
Funny, I remember being excited about giving gifts to particular people, but for the life of me I can't remember what the gifts were!

What is one of your favorite Christmas recipes? Bonus points if you share the recipe with us.
I guess that would be Shrimp Creole although we have it at other times of the year as well.
I'm not at home with the recipe, so I'll have to pass on the bonus points for now.

Someone at the office brought Salmon Spread yesterday. It was goooooood. If I had the recipe that might be my new favorite.

What is a tradition that your family can't do without? (And by family, I mean family of origin, family of adulthood, or that bunch of cool people that just feel like family.)
Our Christmas activities have varied a great deal from year to year. We are rarely in the same place or with the same people as the year before. But, one thing that always happens between my mom and us sisters is the "Christmas Gift" game. Here's how to play the game: On Christmas morning (others do it on Christmas Eve) you always want to be the first one to say "Christmas gift." Since we are often in different cities, this involves early morning phone calls where the caller recites "Christmas gift, Christmas gift, Christmas gift" over and over while the phone rings. You always answer the phone with "Christmas gift," just to be sure to be first.

Pastors and other church folk often have very strange traditions dictated by the "work" of the holidays. What happens at your place?
I have yet to be fully responsible for Christmas Eve services at church, but one or the other of us often has a role in one or more service. We make sure that we have family time sometime on Christmas Eve. We put on our comfy clothes, get our egg nog or hot chocolate and spend some time around the tree. Last Christmas Eve, the 3 of us and my mom led worship in the Hospital Chapel and took communion to all the nurses stations and a few patients. It was a blessing to be able to serve those who could not be home.

If you could just ditch all the traditions and do something unexpected... what would it be?
We watched a PBS special on Christmas in Yellowstone last night. All three of us agreed that would be totally cool. Okay - really cold but lots of fun.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Peace I Ask of Thee O River

Peace, I ask of thee, oh river
Peace, peace, peace
When I learn to live serenely
Cares will cease.

From the hills, I gather courage
visions of the days to be;
Strength to lead and faith to follow,
all are given unto thee.

This is an old Girl Scout song from my (much) younger years. I have always loved it.

I was writing about my Call to Ministry for my Lay Ministry Committee recently. I finished by talking about how my time at the conference office has shown me that I can be in ministry anywhere. As I typed the words, "I have more peace now than I’ve had in a long time," I had a Big AHA moment.

During CPE, one of my peers pointed out that my struggle with the disappointment of not having an appointment was similar to my struggle with the pain of infertility. That was another epiphany. It was amazing to me how much the emotions were the same - anger, sense of abandonment, grief... It also gave me hope.

Now the parallel continues. manBoy came to us just three days after I made the statement that I was finally at peace with God’s plan for us and a child. A friend had pulled me aside to tell me of her pregnancy privately so that I could deal with my pain before she announced to the group. I was able to tell her for the first time in five years I could hear of someone else's pregnancy and not hurt. I was at peace.

I find myself in the same place now. I don’t know what my future holds, but I am confident that wherever I go, God will use me.

PS The latest news is that I will continue at the conference office through February. I am still hopeful for a church appointment in March.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Five: Not So Holiday Spirit Version

Parishioners pushing for carols before you digested your turkey?
Organist refusing to play Advent hymns because he/she already has them planned for Lessons & Carols?

Find yourself reading Luke and thinking of a variety of ways to tell Linus where to stick it? (Lights please.)

Then this quick and easy Friday Five is for you! And for those of you with a more positive attitude, have no fear. I am sure more sacred and reverent Friday Fives will follow.

Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....
1) dessert/cookie/family food -
Cranberry Sauce

2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...) - Red Wine

3) tradition (church, family, other) -
traveling to three different houses in two towns to see three different sets of parents - we stopped that after a few years.

4) decoration - blow up nativity scenes in front yards and anything put up before Thanksgiving.

5) gift (received or given) - money - the kids want it but it seems like such a cop out.

BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it. Okay the first five were hard, but this one's easy "Christmas Shoes." How sappy can you get? I turn off the radio whenever it comes on.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Five: Think About These Things Edition

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8, NRSV)

From RevGalBlogPals, Songbird writes:

Friends, it's nearly Thanksgiving in the U.S. and it's the time of year when we are pressed to name things for which we are thankful. I want to offer a twist on the usual lists and use Paul's letter to the church at Philippi as a model. Name five things that are true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent or worthy of praise. These could be people, organizations, acts, ideas, works of art, pieces of music--whatever comes to mind for you.

1. Pure - This precious little boy who is the picture of innocence and going through rough times.

2. Pleasing - Our plan to spend the weekend recreating (re-creating) with good friends. Including Terri Hendrix concert and guitar gathering celebrating G&T's birthday. I won't say which one, but it ends in 0.

3. True - God's goodness even when we don't see it. My temporary assignment has turned out to be just what I needed to be doing - just what needed to be done. The great response shows me that I am doing what God calls me to do for now.

4. Commendable - My family for sticking with me over all the ups and downs for the last 5 years on this journey toward ministry.

5. Worthy of Praise - God the creator, Jesus the Savior, Spirit the Advocate

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Five: Interviews

Mother Laura at RevGalBlogPals writes:
Songbird just had an interview for a "vague and interesting" possibility, and More Cows than People is doing campus visits for doctoral programs. There always seem to be a few RevGals applying for new positions, and I just got my first call for this year's preliminary interviews for college teaching jobs at the American Academy of Religion meeting in San Diego coming up in a few weeks. It's for my dream job among this year's offerings, and I am flipflopping between excitement and nervousness. So please keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer for everyone facing such conversations, and share your thoughts on the wonderful world of interviews:
1. What was the most memorable interview you ever had?
That would have to be the interviews for commissioning in my denomination. Three separate interviews with groups of 10-15 people. It was daunting! Fortunately, I had good prayer support and a friend that went with me (this was encouraged). The Typist at The Best Dog Ever made a great power point that played back at my home church while people gathered to pray. It worked. I passed!

I recently interviewed for a Hospice Chaplain position. I had a migraine earlier in the day. When I went to get my prescription refilled, the pharmacy was out of the medicine! I was not. a. happy. camper. I had them call the prescription to a store across the street. Each minute that passed was one less minute I had to get to feeling better before the interview. It takes a while for the meds to kick in. I was better, but not great by the interview time.

2. Have you ever been the interviewer rather than the interviewee? If so, are you a tiger, a creampuff, or somewhere in between?
I think I'm more tigger (t-i-double guh-er) than tiger. I get enthusiasitic when I meet someone I think would be good in a position.

3. Do phone interviews make you more or less nervous than in-person ones?
I don't recall any phone interviews. I think it would be hard not to be able to see the other person's face and body language.

4. What was the best advice you ever got to prepare for an interview? How about the worst?
Apparently I don't listen to advice, because I can't tell you who said what and whether or not is was good or bad. I know people have offered advice, but I just don't remember what they said.

5. Do you have any pre-interview rituals that give you confidence?
Just take a deep breath, put it in God's hands and double check to make sure my skirt isn't tucked up into the top of my panty hose. Oh, and music. Listening to good music on the way or just before.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thoughts on Keeping Sabbath

Scripture Reading while at Clergy Retreat:

Exodus 31:13-17 "You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, given in order that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. ......... 16 Therefore the Israelites shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed."

Keeping sabbath in order to know God is God. Keeping sabbath as a sign of God's creative work.

When we fail to keep sabbath - to rest and be refreshed - because there is too much to do, are we saying that God can't be trusted to accomplish what needs to be accomplished through us, so we need to help God out by putting in a few extra hours?

Keeping sabbath as a sign of faith. Keeping sabbath as acknowledgement of who God is and who we are. Hmmmm.

Thank you Lord for the time of rest this week. For the renewing activity of simply being with friends and being alone with you. Remind me Lord that your creative order includes sabbath. Amen.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Sorry, I haven't been around. I've been doing lots of web searching for my project, and get to the point I don't want to look at a computer screen anymore. So here's what is going on:

I have jumped into the Special Needs Ministry Resource Guide project with both feet. I took two items to the office where I'm working; a picture of my family and a stone square given to me at the end of CPE that says "Wherever you go, go with all your heart." That's what I'm trying to do. I am discovering more about my call and where I might be headed. This office feels very removed from the real world and the real needs of people in this world. I think I need closer contact. I entered seminary quite certain I was headed for parish ministry. Now I have no idea where I'm headed. The hospice called back and I went in for an interview. It felt good, but they are interviewing others. Then, if I make the first cut there is another tier of interviews. Soooooo, we will see whether or not that door opens.

manBoy's date likes her mum! Whew! I think that was weighing on me more than the whole appointment/job situation. He gave it to her last night, and she gave him the garter (mini-mum he wears on his arm) she made. They are wearing them to school today and the game tonight. Tomorrow the dance will be semi-formal, so no mum. I've been telling you all I wasn't ready to be the mom of a high school student. I don't know why I'm finding this stuff so hard. I'm excited for him, but I'm worrying way too much about the details.

G&T worked late last night and probably even later tonight. So much for celebrating our anniversary. Oh well, after 27 years we know life is like that sometimes. I did get a new head (prongs for the diamond) for my engagement ring a couple of weeks ago. The old one had been repaired once before when they were worn down and the diamond was in danger of falling out. This time when they got worn down, they had to be replaced. It looks really good now!

That's about all I know. What's going on in your world?

Friday Five: The B-I-B-L-E

From Mother Laura at RevGalBlogPals:

Does everyone remember the old Sunday School song?
The B-I-B-L-E,Oh, that's the book for me.
I take my stand on the Word of God,The B-I-B-L-E.

I have been working on an expansive language version of the Psalms and the Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office/Breviary. (For you non-liturgical gals and pals, that's a set of prayers for morning, noon, evening, etc., mostly consisting of Psalms and other biblical texts).

So I have been thinking a lot about the Bible recently, and how we encounter it as God's Word--or don't--in our lives, prayer, and ministry. (Great minds think somewhat alike this week, as yesterday's Ask The Matriarch post dealt with ways to help as many people in a community as possible engage with a scriptural text in preparation for Sunday worship).

So, in that spirit, I offer my first Friday Five. I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's experience and reflection on these B-I-B-L-E questions:
1. What is your earliest memory of encountering a biblical text?
Since I've been in Sunday School all my life, I don't really remember. I do remember when my Grandmother told me about her Sunday School Lesson on the book of Ruth. I was in Elementary School and it was cool for an adult to be talking to me about the Bible like I might get it!

2. What is your favorite biblical translation, and why? (You might have a few for different purposes).
NRSV for study. I just picked up The Message. For some reason I resisted, but the Bishop read from it at a recent retreat, so I thought I would check it out with some bookstore gift cards I had. So far, I like it. I haven't read The Psalms in it though.

3. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Your favorite verse/passage?
Hmm. Hadn't really thought about a favorite book. I would have to say The Psalms. There is so much emotion and truth there. Favorite Passage(s): Romans 8:28 (NRSV), Nehemiah 8:8 (This is my call verse.), Psalm 51:10, Psalm 139:114 (It took a long time for me to believe this one.)

4. Which book of the Bible do you consider, in Luther's famous words about James, to be "an epistle of straw?" Which verse(s) make you want to scream?
The Revelation of John - misused, misunderstood...

5. Inclusive language in biblical translation and liturgical proclamation: for, against, or neutral?
For - especially when referring to humans. Mixed when referring to God. Not all God language should be masculine, but it doesn't need to be wiped out completely. My friend who speaks Chinese tells me there is a separate gender for God in her language.

Bonus: Back to the Psalms--which one best speaks the prayer of your heart?
It varies from day to day but I can really identify with Psalm 77:2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. Sometimes I'm not ready to be comforted, too hurt, too stubborn, too human.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fab Four Meme

I've been tagged by The Typist This one is all about fours. Answering this has been interesting. My life has been relatively stable (or boring), so I have trouble coming up with some of these fours.

Four jobs I've held:
Camp Counselor
Flower Shop Delivery Person
Special Education Teacher (in 7 different schools)
Hospital Chaplain

Four films I could watch over and over:
It's a Wonderful Life
White Christmas
Holiday Inn
A Christmas Story
or All the Harry Potter Movies

Four TV shows I watch:
The Vicar of Dibley (BritCom)
As Time Goes By (BritCom)

Four places I've lived:
Town next door to famous university.
Small town where I went to College
Large City
Current Suburb

Four favorite foods:
Key Lime Pie
Gooey Enchiladas
Dark Chocolate Mint anything (Have you tried the new Mint Three Muskateers?)

Four websites I visit everyday: (or almost daily)

Four Favorite Colors:
Peach & Teal
Blue & White

Four places I would love to be right now:
In a hammock on the beach
In a hammock on the porch of a mountain cabin
At Fancy Lakeside Resort having a massage
Here in my own home

Four names I love but would/could not use for my children:
What, only four? Remember I taught school for 20 years. Do you know how many names have been ruined for me? manBoy only has his real name because the year he came to us, I threatened a kid he must never do anything so bad I wouldn't want to use his name for my son.

I tag RevDulce, spoookyrach, The Vicar of Hogsmeade, and reverendmommy.Hope y'all haven't already been tagged by somebody... this one's going around!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

For the last 18 months I have felt like Maria in the beginning of the movie The Sound of Music. The cabinet didn't seem to know what to do with my friend and me when we managed to pass commissioning interviews a year before we graduated. They didn't know what to do with me now that I've finished CPE in the middle of the appointment year.

Today, they came up with an answer, albeit very temporary. From Oct. 1 -31 I will be working for the Conference office gathering information and creating a resource for ministering to persons with special needs in the church. Given my 20 years of teaching special education and the fact that I've done some research on this for earlier presentations and seminary papers, this will be right up my alley. It keeps me in the appointment system, it gives us income, and allows me to continue my residency (probationary period) for at least one more month. We will have to see what happens next, but for now I am relieved.

I saw it coming

but was
to prevent it.

A gentle nudge
of the vacuum cleaner
against the shelf
where the
began sliding into
the glass bowl

which began its own journey
across the shelf

onto the marble tile
where it shattered
into hundreds of pieces.

This is how my life feels today. Then I am reminded that shattered dreams are easier to repair than shattered bodies. Emails today speak of an infant waiting skull surgery and a friend's brother on hospice care.

Lord, today I can only pray that you will keep my perspective right and show me your way. Amen

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I thought...

perhaps I had found just the right thing to do for the next while. It felt right. It would use all I've learned in CPE, but have little of the anticipation of what trauma will happen next that I found so difficult.

that door may not open either. I visited with the chief chaplain. We connected. However, she doesn't make hiring decisions. The hiring manager already has someone in mind for the job.

I did learn today that there is little or no hope of an appointment before January.

until January to be employed.

Lord, you know my needs (and my wants). Show me where and when I need to wait and when I need to act. Amen.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Encouragement ..... and tidbits

is measured
not only
in achievements...
but in lessons learned,
lives touched,
moments shared
along the way.

This was on a card that came in the mail today. It was sent by G&T's aunt and uncle in Minnesota without knowledge of last week's set back. It was just what I needed.

As I faced my disappointment last week, I asked a particular group of people to pray for encouragement for me. I have received encouragement from every direction. G&T, manBoy, my mom, blog friends, church friends, seminary friends, neighborhood friends have all offered emails, phone calls, hugs, and words of encouragement for staying the course. So I am grateful to all of you who prayed and commented and called and hugged in person on via the net. I am truly blessed.

I am in a better place, but I still don't know what the future holds. Today I reworked my resume with a teaching focus so I can apply for a substitute teacher. My heart isn't in it, but I didn't cry at the thought of going there. I meet with the DS on Wednesday and I'll have a better idea then if I need to find employment and for how long.


Homecoming Mum: I realize this is a unique practice to my part of the country, but it is important here. manBoy and I went yesterday to purchase the needed materials. At least I hope we got what is needed. He has asked creative neighbor to help him put it all together. We are trying not to go overboard. We saw already created mums for $180 at the craft store. At the same time, I don't want his date to feel short changed. Her mother has asked that we do all of this in moderation since they are only freshmen. Sounds good to me. Now, if I can figure out what a moderate mum looks like. I actually dreamed about this last night. Do you think my other stress is coming out in odd places?

Organizing: What does it say about me that I organized my organizational tools yesterday? You know, binders, folders, and notebook dividers. Now they are neatly stored and easily accessible.
I definitely think I'm needing to feel in control somewhere.

Self Absorption: As I ventured forth from home this weekend, I was reminded that there are people all around me who are struggling with far worse issues than me. A widow approaching the first anniversary of her husband's death. Two friends helping their extended families through crisis. A young couple holding their few months old baby before she goes in for skull surgery. A two year old with Down's Syndrome and Leukemia. Too much time at home to think has not been good for my perspective.

Lord, open my eyes to the suffering around me. Show me where I can be part of your healing touch. Amen.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday 5 - de-cluttering edition

I'm just now posting because I spent the whole day scrubbing the kitchen and putting the den back together after the foundation repair. I now have a pile of stuff that's not going back into the den in my garage. Tomorrow it will go to a local charity that has a resale shop.

Sally at RevGalBlogPals writes this timely meme.
With Jo, Jon and Chris all moving to college and University accommodation there has been a big clear up going on in the Coleman household. We have been sorting and trying hard not just to junk stuff, but actually to get it to where it can be useful. On a brighter note we have used Freecycle ( check it out) to provide the twins with pots and pans etc that other folk were clearing out.

Making the most of our resources is important, I have been challenged this week by the amount of stuff we accumulate, I'd love to live a simpler lifestyle, it would be good for me, and for the environment I think...

With that in mind I bring you this Friday 5;
1. Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?
Somewhere between, but closer to minimalist.
I have a few boxes of keepsakes going back to my childhood and of course manBoy's infancy. I have my original teddy bear along with some others I've collected. However, I have no problem gettting rid of things that are not sentimental or useful. I prefer an uncluttered look.

2. Name one important object ( could be an heirloom) that you will never part with.
Wedding Rings. I've worn them almost 27 years. Not the biggest of diamonds, but the one we chose together.

3. What is the oldest item in your closet? Does it still fit???
Fancy party dress bought as reward for losing weight some time in the late 80's. Sadly it doesn't come close to fitting.

4.Yard sales- love 'em or hate 'em ?
To sell or to shop? I will hold one if I have enough time to go through the whole house and gather up stuff. Lately, I've gleaned one room at a time and wind up just donating to above charity as I don't accumulate critical mass to have a garage sale. We bought much of manBoy's baby equipment at garage sales. In the time of BC (before child), G&T and I used to go garage sale shopping just for fun. That was a simpler time. Now we spend Saturday mornings at Cross Country meets.

5. Name a recycling habit you really want to get into.
That's hard. We are fortunate to have once a week curbside pick up for recycling plastic, paper, glass, metal, and yard debris, so it's easy to recycle that stuff. manBoy's clothes get passed down to cousin or donated. One thing I need to do is find a place to donate old eyeglasses. All three of us wear them and we have quite a collection. I know the Lion's club collects them. I just have to find where.

And for a bonus- well anything you want to add....
Today: the kitchen and den
Tomorrow: my office/ guest room.
Thanks for the inspiration.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Being Dissed or Crisis of Call

I've been dissed - disappointed, discouraged, and disillusioned. The waiting has been for nothing or so it feels. The sure thing isn't sure any more. I'm wondering why I'm even still trying. It would be so much easier to go back to teaching. I checked - there are special education openings in the neighboring suburb. The call that seemed so clear so long ago is less clear now. I'm pouting and I know it, but that's how I feel for today. Of course it doesn't help that I'm stuck at home today while our foundation is being repaired (costing lots and lots of dollars). So maybe I'll just pout a while longer.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Daily Offering

In my Bible, the following section is titled The Daily Offering

Exodus 29:38-46 Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year old regularly each day. One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer in the evening; and with the first lamb one-tenth of a measure of choice flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering. And the other lamb you shall offer in the evening, and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the LORD. It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. I will meet with the Israelites there, and it shall be sanctified by my glory; I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate, to serve me as priests. I will dwell among the Israelites, and I will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them; I am the LORD their God.

Here's what spoke to me from this passage today. First, the Israelites are to set aside time to meet with God twice a day. They are to bring the stuff of their daily lives (lamb, grain, oil, wine) as offering to God. What would it look like for us to bring the stuff of our lives to God twice a day? Our watches, calendars, wallets, Blackberries, cell phones, lap tops? If we did, what would happen?

God makes some promises in this passage. "I will meet you and speak to you" at this place where you come with your offering. "I will dwell among" you. "I will be their God." "They shall know that I am the LORD their God," because they will remember what I have done for them.

In this time of waiting, I have gotten lazy about many things. One of them was offering the stuff of my life to God. When it was hospital work, it was easy to offer that to God. But what about all this unstructured time?

Lord God I give you my time, my mental and physical energy today. Show me how you would have me use it. Amen.

Monday, September 17, 2007

24 Hours

24 hour getaway:
2 trips to pool at lakeside resort
1 evening spent with friends who used to live here and now live there
1 dinner at restaurant overlooking lake with above friends.
2 hours in hot tub at friends' awesome home
8 hours sleep on sheets that feel a lot better than our cheap ones
1 hour on balcony of lakeside resort reading and watching the boats go by
2 hour lunch with sister-in-law at more famous restaurant overlooking lake
Good break. Wish it could have been longer, but we made the most of what we had.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Did I mention that manBoy has settled right into High School? So much so that he now has a date for Homecoming. He asked her via text message. Now apparently this isn't the social faux pas it seems to be since she said yes. I'm afraid I'm just too out of touch with teens. Help! What else do I need to know?

Friday Five: Meetings

At RevGalBlogPals, Reverend Mother 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 guess b. Some (a very few) meetings are good, but so often we seem to go around the same mountain again and again and again.

2. Do you like some amount of community building or conversation, or are you all business?
I tend to be all business, but part of my CPE learning as we studied servant leadership is about the importance of the relationships in productivity. As I wait for my next step (see previous post) I am thinking about how I can be more intentional to focus on relationships as well as task.

3. How do you feel about leading meetings? Share any particular strengths or weaknesses you have in this area.
I'd rather lead than follow most of the time. I get frustrated when I'm not the leader and we seem to be going nowhere. At the same time, I have much to learn about leading. One thing CPE did for me is show me how little I know, and how much room I have to grow.

4. Have you ever participated in a virtual meeting? (conference call, IM, chat, etc.) What do you think of this format?
The closest I've come to this was having one sister on my cell phone and one on my land line while we tried to make holiday plans. It worked pretty well.

5. Share a story of a memorable meeting you attended.
This summer I was working with a couple of other people to create a inservice bulletin board - not just cute, needed to convey information. One person in the group wanted to discuss many possible themes. I was ready to just pick one and move on. We had a deadline to meet! In my frustration, I finally said I would step out of the process until the decision was made. Then I'd be happy to do what ever was needed to make the project happen. As I visited with the other person later, we discussed our different approaches. I mentioned that she liked to consider lots of options. With a huge smile and a spark in her eye she replied, "Yeah, it's like shopping." . I replied, "Exactly! I hate shopping." Well between the two of us and a third person who didn't have many opinions but was a great worker bee we managed to create a great product. It truely takes all types.


and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

For pretty much the whole summer, and definitely for the last month, I've been waiting to hear about an appointment (where I will be sent to serve in the United Methodist Church). Since August 31, I have been told 4 different times that I would hear the news I'm waiting for in the next day or two. Still no news. The latest of these was this past Monday when I was told it would be the end of this week before the District Superintendent could tell me anything. I want off this roller coaster! Today is Friday, the end of the week. The DS doesn't work on most Fridays. I am determined that I will not, as I have several times in the last few weeks, spend the day waiting for the phone to ring. Honestly, I've been like a girl waiting for the guy to call after the first date. I promise I'm not going to do that anymore. Really. No, really. Do you believe me?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday 5 - on overcoming

Beware, I have lots of back blogging trapped inside. Sit back for a longish read.

From RevGalBlogPals:

1.Have you experienced God's faithfulness at a difficult time? Tell as much or as little as you like...
How to choose? This past year has been full of difficult times. My CPE experience brought me into contact with great pain and suffering weekly. There were 12 hour on call shifts that I thought I would never make it through either physically or emotionally. God was there. Gifted and Talented was laid off mid-November and didn't find a new job until the very end of February. That was scary. I struggled to feel God's presence, but God was there. God surrounded us with people who could feel/see God's presence in our lives even when we couldn't. Graduating from seminary and attending Annual Conference knowing that there wasn't at that time an appointment for me was difficult. It seemed I had worked so hard and my family had sacrificed so much for nothing. God was there. God brought healing from my grief. Now I am waiting to hear where I will be appointed. God is here now too.

2. Have you experienced a dark night of the soul, if so what brought you through?
Our years of struggle with infertility left me empty and hurting. Finally, I came to the point where I didn't want to be sad anymore. We began to take steps to enjoy our life. At the same time God was working through people around me to let me know I wasn't alone. God was with us in our pain. One Friday in Dec. 1992, a friend told me she was pregnant. She worried that her news would be difficult for me to deal with. I was able to tell her that for the first time in 4 years I could hear the news of someone else's pregnancy and not hurt. I had a peace that God had a plan for us. We were in the waiting part of the adoption process. We expected to wait up to a year. We brought manBoy home on the following Monday. God is indeed good.

3. Share a Bible verse, song, poem that has brought you comfort?
Romans 8:28 "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. " Note this verse does not say all that happens to us is good, but I believe that God can work good in all things.

As we were dressing for what would be our last fertility appointment, I heard the following statement on Oprah, "The best revenge is to live happily inspite of what someone has done to you." This put into words exactly what I was feeling about infertility. I wanted to find a way to live happily inspite of it. We did. manBoy has been with us for 14+ years now.

Song: Something Beautiful (UMH 34, Bill and Gloria Gaither)

Somthing beautiful, something good;
all my confusion he understood;
all I had to offer him was brokenness and strife,
but he made something beautiful of my life.

4. Is "why suffering" a valid question?
Part of my personal CPE work involved reading a book called The Power to Bless by Myron C. Madden. It has been powerful reading for me. I have to read and reread and digest a little at a time. One chapter talks about the vows we make as children and how we sometimes spend our adult lives living up to unreasonable and sometimes buried expectations. My childhood was not happy. I realized that one of the vows I made was that I would not suffer as I did then. Our CPE readings on suffering helped me see that suffering is inevitable. I do not think it was a coincidence that these two readings happened in the same time frame that I was suffering from the stress and worry over Gifted & Talented's job situation. God is good. God is faithful.

5. And on a lighter note- you have reached the end of a dark and difficult time- how are you going to celebrate?
Hey that's now! I am relaxing (some). I've already ready three novels since CPE ended. I have some bookstore gift cards and I plan to spend them on books or music. I'm listening to a CD my sisiter-in-law gave me with all girl singers. I may splurge on new CD's from some of these artists. Our family is trying to plan an overnight getaway this month.

Bonus- anything you wish to add....
Great an opportunity to tell this story on overcoming.

A is for Amazing

I want to tell you about a friend I met at the hospital. I'll call him "A". He has given me permission to tell his story.

"A" is 30 years old. He has spent his adult life seeking pleasure in partying and drinking. He admits that life was all about him and today. He didn't want to think about tomorrow. He didn't want to have to consider anyone else.

Then within a few short days, "A" went from an active man who made his living doing physical work to lying paralyzed in an Intensive Care hospital room. That's when I met him. He had a nerve disease that had started in his feet and worked its way up his body. Talking had even become difficult. "A" was scared. They told him his disease was reversible, but he couldn't see that happening. What he could feel happening was God calling him. He had seen a peace and joy he didn't understand in some of his friends who were Christians. "A" wanted what they had.

I have visited with "A" many times over the last two months. His condition has indeed improved, but what has been more wonderful to see is the way God is working in this man's heart and spirit. After a few days of fear and "why me," "A" began to see his illness as an opportunity to change himself and his life. He thanks God daily for even the smallest things that you and I take for granted. He looks forward to the day when he will be able to brush his teeth. He sees that he will be able to use his story to encourage others. He is grateful that he has been pulled out of the life he was living. Last week I asked him if he could go back and had a choice to continue in the life he had or to have this illness happen. His response was, "I'm glad this happened. I'm happier here (still mostly paralyzed in the hospital) than I ever was before."

"A" was the last patient I visited on my last shift. When I asked about his day, he said it had been the best day ever. He had received an electric wheelchair. He had wheeled himself to another wing of the hospital to look out a different window and get a different view. For the first time in months he could do something without another person having to help him. As he gazed out at the city, he prayed in thanksgiving that it had only taken him and God to get him to the window. "A" still faces several months of therapy before he recovers. He looks forward to the day when he can walk again and he finds joy in every little step in between.

I have been blessed to know "A". He has taught me and inspired me. We plan to keep in touch.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


The last day of CPE fell on my birthday. It was a few days ago. My son manBoy gave up his last day off from school to come with me for the graduation worship and lunch. He listened - really listened - to what was said at the graduation. He has already used a poem that was read during the service for one of his school assignments. When we got home that afternoon, he disappeared into his room for a while. When he returned he handed me a handwritten page. This is what he said.

A Birthday Poem

Another year come and gone
Another year well spent
A year filled with joy
But not without its share of concerns

CPE residency
A year spent learning
A year spent teaching
Most importantly a year spent growing

This is your day.
Your day.
I hope it has been a good one,
It's going to have to last until next year.

I am blessed.

I worked a few more days to cover on-call shifts while the new residents where trained. My last shift ended at 11:00 last night. I walked out leaving my badge, keys, and pager behind. For a whole year they lived in a cubby hole in my car when they weren't attached to my person. Somehow this made an invisible connection between the hospital and me even when I wasn't there. I have a new sense of freedom now that they are no longer with me.

It is Finished

374 days later, my time at the hospital is finished. I haven't written in a long while. Perhaps because I was pouring out my soul in CPE writings. Perhaps because I was pouring it out into my patients.

I have learned much. I am a stronger person for having served one year and 9 days as a chaplain in a 900 bed County Hospital that is the Region Burn Hospital and a Level 1 Trauma Center. Level 1 Traumas are the most serious. My assigned units included one of five Intensive Care Units, the Oncology unit, the Geriatric unit, and the Endocrinology unit. Each had it's own personality. The oncology patients return for several chemo sessions. You get to know them on a deeper level. Some of the ICU patients stay a long time, some go home, and many go to their final rest. A few leave ICU for less intense locations in the hospital. Those I followed from floor to floor. The Endocrinology patients are usually coping with diabetes and facing life changes either with a new diagnosis or complications. The Geriatric patients varied from grumpy to wise. I wonder which of my personality traits will be magnified as I age.

I have the next 3 weeks off before I begin what comes next (a great mystery that should be revealed soon). It is my intent (yes a play on someone else's words) to go back through my journal and share some of my CPE lowlights and highlights in this blog.

My First Baptism

A tiny baby
in the sterile
yet holy
delivery room
too small, too soon.

Two hours later
beside his mother.

She held him
in her arms
as he breathed


Mother Care

God sent me to this place.
The me that I am.
The me I already was.

God placed me,
the mother that I love being
in this very place.

To offer a bit of grace,
God's mother love
for those who need it.

Gentle Care,
Brushing Hair,
Hearing Heart,
Hugging Arms.

Soft reprimand,
Holding hands,
Bedtime prayers,
Mother care.

In God's name,

Friday, May 04, 2007

Back from Oblivion with a Party!

I'll blog later about where I've been (mostly trying to keep up with home, kid, spouse, and CPE assignments), but this Friday Five seemed like a great way to come back! See the end for a quick update on our lives.

Friday Five: It's My Party

From Songbird at RevGalBlogPals.

I hate to say it, but over the years I've been to too many parties where I, or the birthday child, has felt much like the chorus of Lesley Gore's old tune. I am therefore not the biggest fan of birthday parties.For this Friday (which happens to be my birthday), tell us these five things about parties, birthday or otherwise.

1) Would you rather be the host or the guest? Host, but no I'm not a control freak. Really I'm not!

2) When you are hosting, do you clean everything up the minute the guests go home? Will you accept help with the dishes? If it's really late, I'll rinse and stack and leave most of it for the morning. I will always take help.

3) If you had the wherewithal, and I guess I mean more than money, to throw a great theme party, what would the theme be? We'll be throwing a graduation party in a couple of weeks, so that's the theme I would pick for now. Graduation parties are bitter sweet celebrations of something accomplished, something ending, and in this case unknown new beginnings. I'm not big into themes. When we host a party, I want it to be about relaxing and enjoying other people's company. That's what I'm hoping for this party too. A chance to celebrate being together and to enjoy some good music (see #5).

4) What's the worst time you ever had at a party? That would be the party at which the Birthday Boy (aka manBoy) got into a fist fight with one of his guests. The worst time manBoy had at a party was when he broke his foot just hours before his dad's 40th birthday party (a few years ago).

5) And to end on a brighter note, what was the best? We have had guitar parties where one visitor was heard to say "I've never seen so many guitars in one room without price tags!" Most of these were in the era BC (before child), but we still gather smaller groups. In the original version, many young couples and singles would gather for a weekend bringing all sorts of musical instruments and their smiles. The music was awesome and everyone brought at least one song everyone else could learn. Food abounded around the center dish of Velveeta, Rotel, and Breakfast Sausage Queso. In the wee hours some returned to their own homes to sleep, but several crashed on beds and floors in our house. Then we'd start over again the next evening.

Quick Update:

Mid-life Rookie is nearing end of 3rd unit of CPE in large county hospital and enjoying it much more. This unit we are discussing cultural sensitivity which is fun since the majority of our group is from other cultures. Graduating from Hallowed Halls Seminary on May 19. (Okay they are holding my diploma till the end of CPE, but I'm walking and celebrating as if its over.) I will not be registered for classes this summer, so as far as I'm concerned my years there are done, which is a little sad. I attended the Sending Forth Worship Service yesterday. It was great to see friends and my professors (believe it or not). I'm still waiting to hear about an appointment in a church, but it's not looking too hopeful.

Gifted & Talented been employed since Feb. 28th. (Yipee!) This job requires a different skill set than he's used to using, so he is adjusting. We are grateful for paycheck and insurance. He still plays with the worship band at church and even had one of our out-of-town friends join them a couple of weeks ago.

manBoy ran Cross Country and Track and received a running award. It's getting easier to watch him run the hurdles. We had an incredible discussion this week when his science teacher assigned a paper on personal beliefs regarding creation and evolution. It is exciting to watch him come into his own understandings. He is finishing middle-school and definitely has short timer's disease. Today his class has gone to Giant Theme Park. I don't expect they will get much learning done after this.

Well if anyone actually comes back to read this after my long absence,
Blessings to All,

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Five: Artsy Crafty

From RevGalBlogPals:

During Lent here at Suburban Presbyterian Church, we are exploring the creative and liturgical arts, with classes and speakers dealing with storytelling, iconography, dance, visual art, writing, and so on. The theme is "A Beautiful Thing," inspired by the story of the woman anointing Jesus and his declaration that "She has done a beautiful thing for me." (Mark 14, NIV)

We are working on the notion that everything we do can be considered a beautiful thing--a creative offering to God--whether it's gardening or scrapbooking or accounting or sorting clothes at the clothes closet or child-rearing. And so:

As a disclaimer, I recently found myself emerging from the darkness in which all energy went into existing and nothing was left for creating. As I spend more time in the light, I hope the creative energy will grow. My answers today are not especially brilliant, but at least I'm playing again.

1. Would you call yourself "creative"? Why or why not? Not particularly, but I have done some creative writing, taking lectio devina to a different level. I write in first person the experience of someone in the passage. I haven't shared any of these with anyone.

I saw an ad somewhere that spouted "creative solutions." That pretty much describes what I do well, find solutions that work for people. I don't know how creative that is.

2. Share a creative or artistic pursuit you currently do that you'd like to develop further. I would love to do more creative writing. Hopefully, as written requirements for school, CPE fall away, there will be more time. I'd love to write devotions for Guideposts or Upper Room. For now this blog will have to be my outlet.

3. Share a creative or artistic pursuit you have never done but would like to try. Redecorating our home. I've done a little of this, but we are in need of major updates.

4. Complete this sentence: "I am in awe of people who can write creative lyrics for songs. I love a good turn of phrase. One of those is from Point of Grace's The Great Divide: 'There's a bridge to cross the great divide...There's a cross to bridge the great divide.' Some other songwriters I admire are Terri Hendrix and Betty Elders."

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.) My friends dogblogger, Mai, and Patti all remind me to recognize the gifts I've been given. I tend to focus on what I can't do.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tomorrow is the Day! (Feedback Appreciated)

G&T starts his new job on Wednesday. He is excited and nervous. Please keep him in your prayers as you go throughout your day.

As for me, I will be preaching at my home church on March 25. It has been suggested that I might share some of the stories of healing I have seen at the hospital. A few of these healings have been physical. Others have been more along spiritual and emotional lines. I would probably use the story of Jesus healing the man on the mat by forgiving his sins for a scripture basis. Anyone have an opinion on this?

On another front, I had decided to give up panicking over money, future.... for my Lenten discipline. Then of course one of the main sources of panic has been resolved. So now I need a new discipline and Lent is almost a week gone. I think I'm going to pray about my work at the hospital more. I pray in my work all the time, but not as much about it. Any other suggestions?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

News, News, News

Okay, here's the great news- Gifted & Talented has been offered a job that he will enjoy! It will draw on several of his interests and offers him a chance to let his light shine a little. Hint the job has to do with lights. He starts on February 28. So thank you for all your prayers and support during this difficult time. In all our worry and stress, we never felt we lacked for friendship, love, or support. Indeed, we knew we were blessed.

I've had a few "aha moments" in the last couple of weeks, but just didn't get time to blog them. So keep reading if you want to see what I've learned in all this. Since I'm posting them all at once, you can read straight down and get the right chronology.

Acts of Faith: Crying Out in Our Misery

After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God looked upon the Israelites, and God took notice of them. Exodus 2:23-25

Aaron spoke all the words that the LORD had spoken to Moses, and performed the signs in the sight of the people. The people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had given heed to the Israelites and that he had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped. Exodus 4:30-31

As we have journeyed through the wilderness of unemployment and wondering what our future might look like, I have learned something about acts of faith.

I tried to be at peace, trusting God's faithfulness to us, knowing that God would take care of us. But honestly, I see people at the hospital who it seems God may have abandoned. People without homes. People without transportation. People without money for health care who let their illnesses get far too serious before they seek medical help. I know it's society and not God who has abandoned them. Still, it was hard to see this everyday and keep hope.

At home, the crack our foundation (the house not our marriage) was worsening everyday. I worried about that. I worried about both of us being without jobs after August. I worried about everything, and then I beat myself up for worrying rather than having faith.

Then, I was reading Exodus (see above). The Israelites didn't really know the God who heard their cry, but they knew their ancestors had believed. They cried out and God heard. Many of the Psalms are written by someone who cried out to God from their misery. I learned that crying out in one's misery can be an act of faith.

So, I decided that I too must cry out to God in my misery. I had to lay all my fear and worry out honestly. It was the only act of faith I was capable of at the time. As I journaled my prayer, pouring out my heart, the phone rang. It was a call regarding a possibility for my future ministry. I'm not kidding. As I finally came before God in my true state, before I finished, the phone rang. I believed the Lord had given heed to my cry.

I still don't know what my ministry will look like, but I know God hears my cry.

Emerging from the Cocoon

Last Saturday, I realized that for over a week I had only been to work, home and maybe one other place. Then I got sick and spent Sunday and Monday in bed. On Monday, I was well enough to write my final evaluation for Unit 2 (of 4) of my CPE program. Thank goodness for laptops!

On Tuesday, we presented our final evaluations and finished mid-afternoon. As I was leaving in the warm sunshine, I felt as if I had emerged from a long period of darkness into beautiful daylight.

My heart was lighter. I was actually smiling spontaneously. Whatever had changed within, I felt like rejoicing.

Ash Wednesday

I assisted with the imposition of ashes to hospital patients and staff all day long on Wednesday, but I did not have ashes imposed on my forehead. I knew that I would be worshiping at my church that evening, and I waited until I could be the recipient rather than the carrier of God's grace.

Work at the hospital has kept me from my church for the last two Sundays. As the service began, it felt so good to just sit back and soak in the atmosphere.

As the service progressed, the readings and prayer of repentance became more than words. They spoke to and from my heart. The violin and guitar duet played The Lord's Prayer, and tears rolled down my face. I could truly pray, "Thy will be done." I confessed my weak faith and asked God's forgiveness. When the ashes were placed on my forehead, I knew I had experienced grace.

Acts of Faith: Taking a Bath

After the Ash Wednesday Service, I went home and took a bath. Now for many of you this would seem routine, but for me it was an act of faith. I was doing something normal, no something special as a treat for myself. I could lay in the tub and read a novel, warming the water twice over. I could do something other than worry for the first time in a long time. The peace I had so longed for had come.

On Thursday, Gifted & Talented received the job offer.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Ministry Moments

Okay, the title of this blog is Ministry Moments and Other Mid-Life Musings. Lately it's been more my life musings and less ministry moments. So here goes.

In the last 72 hours I have cared for five families dealing with death or imminent death of a loved one. All of these are too early deaths, unexpected deaths. Each family dealt with their loss in a different way and required a different approach to pastoral care. However, they all had one common link- the ministry of presence. That I was there, that someone cared, made a difference.

When you think you can't make a difference, just be there.

No News

I really don't have much to report, but I haven't blogged in a few days and I want to keep up the habit. So here's the non-news and prayer requests.

There is no news on the job front. We are all a little discouraged. Prayers for encouragement and peace will be appreciated.

manBoy made his class choices. I'm grieving that he is giving up band, but if his heart isn't fully in it he will be miserable. He made his decision Saturday, and was still at peace with it this morning. So, prayers of thanksgiving for that.

I have a meeting tomorrow Feb. 6 to explore a far away possibility. Please pray for discernment.

House repairs on hold until foundation company comes on Feb. 15th.

Lord Jesus, fill us with your peace. Amen.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Future is Here

I am NOT ready to be the mother of a high school student. I know it's coming, but this is JUST January. Why are we talking to high school counselors now? Why do course selections that will affect the next four years have to be decided on in less than a week's time? Why do we have to think about this when we don't even know where we will be living when school starts next year?

We went to the High School Expo to learn about electives and guess what? manBoy wants to do everything! Decisions are so hard.

On another note, G&T has found some training he would dearly love to take. The question is how to pay for it and pay the bills.

Okay, I know I'm whining, but I just want to whine a little. A person can only take so much emotional change without a brief outburst every now and then.

Oh Lord, there are so many decisions facing us. Guide our hearts and minds. Lead us in your will. Show us where and how we can be your servants. Bless us with the peace of your spirit. Amen.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hope, Grief, and a Child's Wisdom

First, the hope. I briefly spoke about the blank canvas in an earlier post. In the past few weeks I have struggled to fight back tears at the sense of being about 1" tall standing on the corner of a 4' by 4' blank canvas. I had no picture of what the future looks like and no idea which way to turn. Now I am wondering if it is possible that the canvas had to be blank before we would or could think about possibilities that are far from anything we had imagined before the layoff? I don't want to say much, just that we are broadening our thinking some.

Second, the grief. We are beginning to do the things that must be done before we put our house on the market. It is likely that we would need to do this in the coming months even if G&T was still employed, but still it is sad. I love this house. I love the way we are when we are in it. Three comfortable cozy bears enjoying our life together. I have always wanted our home to be a refuge, and I didn't realize how much it has become that. I have to trust that we can recreate that wherever we wind up.

Words of Wisdom from a Child: This morning's children's message was about the importance of putting down good roots in scripture, worship, and prayer. One of the children commented that the roots of a plant allows it to grow both in the sunshine and in the cold. Deep thoughts for this mid-life rookie who seems to be trying to grow in the cold right now.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Is It Me???

What do you think?

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Reverend Lady Mid-life Rookie the Unique of Longer Interval
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

I admit, I tried more than once. I rejected the names that included largebottom and dejected because they were too close to home.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday Five: Renewal

RevGalBlogPals meme of the week: 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.

What only four? Not enough! I can think of several, but don't ask me how long it's been since I did some of them.

1. Listen to Gifted & Talented and several of our friends play guitar and many other stringed instruments at very informal gatherings.

2. Read a trashy novel. When I was in my seminary classes, I would take the day following my last final for a semester to read one or more Nora Roberts (aka JD Robb) or some other light reading that was anything but theology. I also like Jan Karon, but I don't consider those trashy.

3. Bath. Long. Deep. Hot.

4. Swing in a hammock or rock in a rocker. I'm all about the motion.

5. Talk on the phone with family and friends or read the blogs of cyberfriends.

6. PJs. Blankie. Sofa. Hot Chocolate. Munchies. Good Movie.

7. Beach time.

My dream: Take a whole weekend or any two days to be completely alone. I went from my college dorm to marriage. I never have more than a few hours alone at a time. However, being more of an extrovert, I imagine 2 days would be enough.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God"? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:27-31 NRSV

I used to teach my special needs students (and my son when he was very young) what waiting looked like. Waiting is an abstract concept that we expect concrete thinking children to grasp. So, I tried to make it more concrete. Waiting most often looked like drumming one's fingers on one's lap or table... Sometimes it looked like twiddling thumbs.

As I read the above scripture today, I wondered, "What does waiting look like for followers of God?" To wait is more than to sit back and see what comes. To wait is to expect that something will happen. Even the motions I taught the children imply expectation. To wait for God is to expect that God will act, or is acting and will reveal. To wait is to hope.

Hope has been in short supply around our house lately. We don't have high expectations for the corporate world, and admittedly we are reserved in our trust in the appointment system that will have to make an exception around my CPE schedule. As I contemplate today's reading, I realize we are hoping (or not hoping) for the wrong thing. We are hoping for the right job, the right appointment... What we need to be waiting expectantly for is God - for the revealing of God's action in our lives - in this situation.

Part of my struggle with hope these last few weeks has been that there was no "future story" to picture. The canvas before us seems blank. I can, however, wait expectantly for God's revealing. I can hold onto that hope - with God's help, by God's grace.

God of love and light, show me what waiting looks like. Help me wait faithfully. Amen.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Alone at Last

One of the advantages of G&T's unemployment is he's home a lot. One of the disadvantages of G&T's unemployment is he's home a lot. This evening I have a blessed 3 hours home alone while the boys are off at a church youth event. First, I read a few blogs. Next I had some quiet time of reading and reflection. While the meat thaws for the chili I'm going to cook, I'll fill you in on my reflections.

I was reading the last few chapters of Acts. Paul tells the story of his conversion again. I started thinking, "Why can't I have a big honkin' message from God right about now?" It would sure help to get a little scoop on what's coming. Maybe it's because I haven't slowed down and shut up long enough to hear anything. Now shutting up is easier said than done for me because I think in words, actually in paragraphs. So even when it's quiet and I have music with no lyrics playing in the earbuds (directly into my brain), I still have ongoing monologue in my head. Soooo, that's not working I'll try another tactic. I'll be Paul. This often works for me. Imagining myself in the story. While I don't often see pictures in my head, I can imagine being somewhere; what it feels and even looks like. Here's what happened:

I'm Paul, well really I'm me walking quickly and sternly along the road prepared to wipe out the bad guys (unemployment). I look stern. I walk with purpose. The people with me have to hustle to keep up. They don't quite understand my fierce determination, but they stick with me anyway. Then it happens. I'm knocked to the ground. Literally, I don't know what hit me but I know I'm on the ground, I can feel it under my elbow and my hip. It's hard. It hurts. All I can see is light. Not a light, but light - all around me. Not harsh or blinding, but beautiful, warm love. The light is between me and everything else. If I stood back up, I wouldn't know which way to step. Hey this is great, here comes the message _______________________________ Nothing. Light's still there, but no message, no voice. All I can do is lay on the ground surrounded by this wonderful light. Well perhaps this is where I need to stay for a while. Laying on the ground, not in the dark of despair and wondering, but in the warm light of faith. I still don't know anymore about what's coming, but somehow I'm in a better place.

Thank you Lord for your presence in my life, in this world. Amen

Friday, January 19, 2007

Badda Bing Badda Boom Friday Five

Reverend Mother at RevGalBlogPals writes: It's been a very full, busy week. Here's the F5, short and sweet.
The questions are simple, the answers unlimited. Go!

Who: My hubby of 26 years, Gifted & Talented (G&T), for whom I am so grateful.

What: Faithfully searching for a job and trying hard to keep his spirits up.

When: Since November 16th

Where: Suburbia, USA

Why: Because the *#!* company downsized, because God has a plan for us, just because...

Bonus - How: By the grace of God and the love of friends and family

Discipleship Denied?

Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
Matthew 16:24-26, NRSV.

We read these words from a post-Easter perspective. I wonder what the disciples might have thought when they heard them. Taking up the cross meant death, giving up one's life. Jesus was asking a great deal! Already, these men (and women) had left their homes, their livelihoods, their lifestyles to follow a man who was somehow different from the others. Now, he asked them to be willing to give their very lives.

Today, when you ask someone about their life, they will most likely tell you about their family, or their job, or their home, and maybe even about their church. In otherwords, their lifestyle.
As I ponder this radical call to discipleship in relation to our current situation, I wonder what are we being called to deny- to give up. We have so much. How far will God ask us to go? I see people who have nothing but what they wear and can carry in a plastic bag everyday. How far am I willing to go? Do I have the strength of faith or desire to follow enough to leave all of it behind? Is that what it would take for me to learn to lean only on God and not on things or my own intelligence and strength of will?

Lord, create in me a heart that desires only to follow you. Amen.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Hiding from the World

I haven't blogged in a long time. I'm not sure why. I can't seem to get the energy to write. I had a cold from Christmas Eve until New Year's Day and beyond. I spent most of the week at home drinking hot tea and blowing my nose. I had a few days off from the hospital, and I retreated into the cocoon of our house. I didn't email and rarely watched the news. Our family needed this down time together. We watched lots of movies and ate junky snacks. It was a great break from the world outside our door; the world of the hospital where I see so much suffering everyday, the world of unemployment where our future hangs in the big unknown. It was also a time of self-centeredness or at least self-focus and yes a little self-pity.

The problem comes in returning to the world. In being a part of everyone else's life - both joys and sufferings. While we were hiding away, the world went on. People came and went from the hospital. Babies were born to great rejoicing and difficult diagnoses were made. Being a part of the world takes so much energy.

At the same time I am constantly reminded of the blessings we have: the home where we find retreat, two cars in good running condition, our health. Yesterday, I heard about one of my co-worker's nephew who at 22 months is beginnning chemo treatments. I was reminded that I have so much to be thankful for.

Oh Lord, open my eyes and my heart to the blessings that surround me. Give me energy and enthusiasm to meet the needs I face each day. Guide my steps, my thoughts, my words. Be present with me, Lord. Amen.