Sunday, August 31, 2008


My stepsister and her family live between Houma, LA and the coast. In case you haven't heard, that's directly in the expected path of the eye. They evacuated Saturday evening with everything they could pack in their cars including the two belonging to the teenagers. They lost almost everything in Rita. They fully expect to come back to nothing. These people I know and care about. Thousands more are fleeing with the same expectations. St. Casserole is waiting it out at her home further to the east. Keep praying for them all!

Lord be with them. Amen.

Un-update: No news as yet how their home faired. We know they arrived safely at their evacuation destination, but no news on damage. Thanks for praying

Monday, August 18, 2008

Competitive Homiletics

Yesterday, in a casual conversation with our pastor and a few others, we discussed the latest Olympic news. Then it was brought up that the pastor would never make it to the Olympics as preaching is not a competitive sport. What followed was some fun speculation as to what competitive homiletics might involve. Here are a few of the ideas:

1. Two types of events - endurance and speed
-Endurance - how long can you preach - last one standing wins.
-Speed - who can get the most points made in the shortest time

2. Degree of difficulty -
-Higher difficulty points awarded for preaching from a difficult scripture passage. Most of Romans would count as higher difficulty.

3. Deductions would be given for ers and ums.

What are your ideas? This could be fun. I was reminded last week of the importance of fun in our ministries, so let the games begin!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Five: Fall Transitions

Mary Beth posted a great Friday Five with pics of horse apples over at RevGalBlogPals. I don't have time to copy the whole thing here, but here's the meme.

For this Friday's Five, share with us five transformations that the coming fall will bring your way.
Well, where I live fall and spring last about one day. As a teacher, I used to joke that we had to be prepared to teach about the season of fall on the day it happened. Still there are transformations happening.

1. For the first time if 40+ years, I am not preparing to start a new year of school, internship, job at this time of year. School years were followed by teaching years were followed by seminary years were followed by CPE and then last year at this time expectations of a new appointment. That didn't actually happen until March, but that's another story.

2. manBoy and I will not be shopping for school supplies or clothes this year. This just seems wierd! His new school is computer and project based, so the usual binders and spiral notebooks are not needed. He only has to have a carrying case for the laptop they will assign to him. His growth has slowed down (he's 5'11") and his wardrobe preferences run to t-shirts purchased at cross country and track meets, so he's not buying new school clothes.

3. I'm still defining myself in my position at the conference office.

4. I'll be facilitating a Disciple Bible Study for the first time this fall. We start August 26th, and I'm loving the preparation work.

5. We will be moving into our new church building sometime this fall, but not before Aug. 31 which is when I'm next scheduled to preach. I had hoped to be preaching from the new pulpit, but alas, not yet.

Bonus: Give us your favorite activity that is made possible by the arrival of fall.
When the weather gets to where the high temperatures are below 80 (late October to November) I get to enjoy hot drinks again - tea, hot chocolate, hot apple cider, choffee (Hot Chocolate with a spoon of instant coffee and Readi-whip).

Reflection on Life

Yesterday, I served as facilitator for a seminar. I didn't present, but did all the background work. This was the 6th time we've held this seminar. In it, the presenter tells the story of Elisha's followers building a new place to gather. (2 Kings 6:1-7) In the process, the iron axe head falls off the axe and into the water. The man cries out, "Oh, my Lord." The presenter encouraged each pastor to think seriously about what in their ministry would cause them to cry out "Oh, my Lord" if it was lost or missing from their church. Later in the day, the presenter invited 3 people to come forward and help with an example of hospitality. One of the men who came forward was cutting up and being funny behind the presenter's back (these two know each other from years in the same conference). When the presenter stopped and looked back at the man, his comment as he grinned was, "One of my iron axe head words is Fun."

This morning, I received an email saying that the man who thought fun is an important aspect of life and ministry died suddenly last night. I didn't know this man. I heard the band he plays in several times, but other than meeting him yesterday, I didn't know him. What I do know about him is his last day on earth included fun and learning how to better lead his church because those things were important to him.

If today was my last day, would it include what is important to me? It will now!

Added later: I posted a comment about this on the band's blog. His wife responded with the following:

"You are so right. On his study door he once had a sign that read "Playground Director" because that way everyone there would know that he was in charge of all the fun."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dealing with Disappointment

Exodus 17:1-6 From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 The people quarreled with Moses, and said, "Give us water to drink." Moses said to them, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?" 3 But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?" 4 So Moses cried out to the LORD, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me." 5 The LORD said to Moses, "Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink." Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Last week, manBoy called on the first full day of running camp to say he had sprained his ankle. I could tell that he was mad at himself and disappointed. I did not hear from him again until the last day. I fretted all week that he was probably having a miserable time not being able to run at running camp. When we picked him up at the airport, his ankle was wrapped, and no he had not been able to run for the rest of the week. He, however, was not in a bad mood. He had still managed to have fun at running camp while he learned about running technique and injury care... He had dealt with his disappointment far better than I had.

Yesterday, manBoy learned that one of his Cross Country teammates has broken his femur. He will miss the entire Cross Country and Band Marching seasons during his senior year. In addition, this may affect his post graduation plans which include an institute of higher learning that requires excellent physical condition. (I'll let you figure that one out.)

As I consider the deep disappointment this young man must be facing, I now see the value in manBoy's experience. We need to live through these small disappointments so we know we can make it through the big ones. While I hope manBoy never has to face a life plan changing disappointment, odds are he will.

The above passage shows us that even when we are cranky about life not going the way we planned, God is with us. Thank heaven for that!

Loving God, help us know that you are with us in life's ups and downs. Amen.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sigh of Comfort

AC replaced. House cool and quiet! Nice!

No word from manBoy since Tuesday, but I'm not stressin' They will call if he's seriously hurt. Otherwise, hope he's having fun - if you can do that at a camp for running.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Worry Update

manBoy called. He doesn't have cell service out at camp but they had come into town. I had managed to get more peaceful until his call. The sad news is he has hurt his ankle. Please pray for speedy recovery so he can get a little running in at running camp! Thanks to all of you.

I got to talk to him again while they were still in town. He says when he first hurt it, he could only walk on his toes. Now he can walk on his whole foot with some pain. I think getting better is a good sign. If it was serious, it would be getting worse. He says the terrain is much rougher than he's used to running on. He actually hurt it going across camp, not on a run. I told him to ask if they could stop at a pharmacy so he can buy ankle braces.
Thanks for holding my hand even if it is in cyberspace.

Worry Wart

I could use some prayer. My worry button is being overworked this week and I need you to pray that I will be able to pray the prayer of relinquishment.

The last I heard from manBoy he was in town of flight destination in the vehicle with one of the coaches going from the airport to the universtiy they were meeting up with all the runners. I've had no word that he got to neigboring state with mountains where high altitude running camp takes place. I worry about several issues, but mostly I just want to know he got there okay.

I know that my worries are exacerbated by the gazillion of dollars we are about to spend to replace our entire AC unit ducts and all, and by the fact that we are living in a small part of our house and in a lot of noise (Window units are loud). Being an auditory learner, constant noise is exhausting for me.

In the meantime, my sister who lives just 25 miles north of Galveston has evacuated with her two daughters and her dog to my Mom's house. I haven't checked the trajectory on Edouard this morning. Her husband is still down there. We also need to keep Quotidian Grace and Zorro in our prayers for this event.

My prayers have been of the frantic nature, not the faithful trusting kind. So if you guys could send up some prayers for peace for me and for safety for my family, I would really appreciate it.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Up Up and Away

Well, I had hoped for something deeper and more inspiring than potty humor for my 150th post, but that is not to be. Perhaps I'll be 12 today.
manBoy flew out to running camp this morning. It's the first time he's flown alone and I was nervous, more about the fact that he was being met at the other end by someone we've never met.

The announcements for his flight went like this.
Boarding for flight xxxx will be delayed. We have maintenance crew aboard the aircraft. (Not comforting).

15 minutes later: Boarding for flight xxxx has be moved to gate y and will be delayed. We have maintenance aboard this aircraft. Please listen for further anouncements. (Inconvenient and still not comforting.)

15 minutes later: Attention passengers on flight xxxx, the lavatory on this aircraft is not functioning. Please use airport facilities before you board.(Well at least we hope that's the only maintenace issue.)

Finally: Boarding for xxxx at gate y has begun. We will board all groups at once due to the delay. Flight left 40 minutes after scheduled departure.

Fortunately, it's only a 1 hour flight. He met the right person and camp adventure has begun.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Checking in with statistics

-Number of totally dead air conditioner units - 1.
-Number of people sleeping in oven like temps last night - 3
-High temperature on back patio thermometer 111.
-High temperature on interior thermostat 94.
-Number of window AC units purchased and installed so we can live in 1/3 of our house for the next 5 days until new AC unit installed - 2.
-Degrees cooler in cooled rooms - many but not measurable at this time.
-Number of musical instruments hauled to neighbor's house for cool keeping - 8
-Record time for sprinting through hot section between cooled areas - 2 seconds
-Number of prayers of gratitude that we have the ability to find a temporary solution - many but probably not enough.
-Prayers lifted for those suffering in heat without AC many. Window units will be donated as soon as new AC is installed.
-Number of posts to get to 150 - 1

Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday Five: Lock Me Out, Lock Me In

Songbird posts the following Friday Five at RevGalBlogPals.

For some reason, Blogger declared this blog possible SPAM and locked us down yesterday. This morning, we're free to post again, but there was a fair amount of excitement last night among our contributors, who found a dire notice on their Blogger dashboards threatening that this blog might be deleted in 20 days!We requested a blog review, and I posted a request at the Blogger Help group, where I found we were not alone. Many other perfectly nourishing and cromulent blogs got the same notice last night.This turned out to be a very small barricade in our blogging community life, but it seemed appropriate to explore locks and blocks and other barriers this week. Also, I liked the picture of the security team above! Could they be Blogger's Spam Prevention Robots, working overtime?In honor of their efforts, I bring you the "Lock Me Out, Lock Me In" Friday Five.

1) How do you amuse yourself when road construction blocks your travel?
I make use of my bluetooth earpiece and cellphone to catch up with friends or family. Here in big city one often doesn't see what has caused the traffic delay because usually it's cleared up by the time you get up to the source. I think that's a metaphor that might preach, or at least have practical application in life.

2) Have you ever locked yourself out of your house? (And do you keep an extra key somewhere, just in case?)
We don't use the key to our house much as we go through the garage. We have an external entry method if the remote dies, but if the electricity goes out, we're in a mell of a hess.
Once a long time ago, we arrived home late one night to find the door between the garage and house locked and G&T had not brought the "big set of keys"- you know the ones with the house key. As I was musing whether it would be cheaper to get a hotel room and call a locksmith in the morning, G&T busted through the door. Replacing the door and bits of frame cost more than a hotel room and lock smith would have. I'm just sayin.

3) Have you ever cleared a hurdle? (And if you haven't flown over a material hurdle, feel free to take this one metaphorically.)
I haven't ever run hurdles, but manBoy does. I always watch with my eyes half closed. I figure if he's still on his feet at the finish line all is good. He of course is always pushing for faster time, better stride...

I've lived not quite a half century so yes, I've cleared many metaphorical hurdles. I can't think of a specific one to discuss right now. In fact, much of the way I function is to figure out ways over, under, around hurdles. I also can anticipate many hurdles and plan ahead for them. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is that of Abigail (I Samuel 25) a great problem solver. The problem with my liking that story is God isn't mentioned. I tend to try to find ways over, under, around hurdles on my own power. Not a good idea.

4) What's your approach to a mental block?
I read blogs or play word games or solitaire on the computer. Synapses firing while other stuff works in the background. The problem comes when I play toooooooo long.

5) Suggest a caption for the picture above; there will be a prize for the funniest answer!
Secretly in the night, she quietly placed the warning men in front of the chocolate factory. Not because of the inherent danger of chocolate, but so she could have it all to herself.
Stop! Do. Not. Take. One. More. Step. Stop! We mean it! If you come any closer we will shuffle over and headbutt you with out little plastic hardhats.