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.