Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve


Another year is coming to a close, and time to look back as well as forward. I'm not great at keeping resolutions, but as I noted in last year's post it's always interesting to look back at the last year. Last year at this time I was still living at home with the parents and brother and nieces. I was still in the call process. I was frustrated with both. Now, going into 2009, I have a call, my own apartment, and things have moved forward. I miss spending lots of time with the nieces. I miss spoiling the baby on a regular basis. I miss the sleepovers (even though they usually didn't involve much actual sleep for me). I'm grateful to be in this place, though, even with its challenges. I'm slowly finding my way. Although some days it feels like I'm the worst pastor in the history of pastors, other days I feel like I'm actually starting to get the hang of it. Last year I read 101 books. This year it was 53, but then I was only unemployed for 4 months, so I had less time. :-) I resolved last year (as I seem to do every year) to try and improve my eating and exercising habits. I've been moderately successful at that, but it's gone in fits and starts, and I can do better. So back on the list it goes. This next year I hope to get better at meeting people and finding a life outside of church. Maybe I'll even go on a date (please, God?). I will hopefully improve my spiritual life (something else that always seems to be on the list). So we'll see. May your new year be blessed, wherever you find yourself and whatever you might be resolving to try.

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Horoscope

aries (Mar. 21st-Apr. 20th)Oh, this really cracks us up. The stars have a teeny-tiny recommendation for you this week: "Look for someone who can dazzle your mind and challenge your every thought." Yeah, like it's really that easy. No big deal, right? Geez, and all this time we've been chasing dullards with no sex appeal. How come no one told us we should chase the catch of the day? Well, Aries, before you get all cocky like us, stop and think for a second: When was the last time you really went after someone you wanted bad, someone you thought you couldn't get? Are you settling to avoid rejection? Do we sound like your shrink yet? Have you called your mother lately? Your New Year's resolution: Shoot for the moon and maybe you'll end up shagging a little star. And call your mother.
Huh. I just had this conversation with someone recently (um, without that last part about shagging--that would have just been awkward). Stupid universe. Now, where do I find this supposed catch? He wasn't at the funeral I just went to (she says sarcastically). But I have called my mother recently, so stop nagging!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

I don't have a fire, delightful or not, but I'm glad I'm inside and don't have anywhere else to go today. The weather has warmed up just enough for the snow to turn to rain and the roads to turn to slush and ice. It's nasty. And now the wind is blowing and it sounds and feels as if my whole apartment might end up somewhere else. If it does, I hope it's somewhere I have friends to visit! :-) Church was quiet today, which is pretty typical for the Sunday after Christmas. At first service we only had one person under the age of 18, and he was only there because he was the acolyte. 2nd service was better, but it was definitely quiet. In other news, I had a huge, stupid fight with my father yesterday. Neither of us handled it very well. For my part, the fight was only a small step in a larger process that led to those obnoxious voices in my head having a field day. Oh, it was an adventurous drive home with me crying and the voices laughing and telling me how much I suck. Good times. And now I'm tired. Another reason I'm glad I don't have to go anywhere today. I'm thinking a nap is in order.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday Five--The Day After

It's Boxing Day! Whatever that may mean to you, I invite you on this day to simply share five things that today, December 26th, will bring for you.
1. Making Lefse with my sister (she uses sweet potatoes--should be interesting!)
2. Arguing with my brother. It's good natured, it's just what we do.
3. Playing with the niece who's here. The other 3 are with their mom so I won't see them this trip home. Sigh.
4. Going to the grocery store. (It's a small town--it's kind of an event)
5. Working for mom at the theater tonight.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve



It's been a busy morning of baking and packing and doing those last minute things before (hopefully) going home tomorrow. No new snow, overnight, and today's accumulation is only supposed to be about an inch, so going home is looking more plausible. Soon I will head off to the church to do some work and prepare for tonight's services. We're having 3, which seems like a lot, but I know someone who has 5, so I'm no longer complaining! :-) SP is preaching at the later 2, and of course the puppets are "preaching" at the early service. It should be a nice night. Whatever your Christmas Eve plans are, whether it's going to church, leading worship, staying home with family and friends, I hope your time is blessed and your Christmas full of good things.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snow Tires

I got snow tires put on my car today (yes, I realize this probably should have been done awhile ago). So, yay traction! The weird thing is, I've never had snow tires. I've always just had all seasons and they've been fine. I haven't driven this car much in winter, though, and it's not quite as up to the challenge as my other cars were. Poor little Hermione. At least now I might actually make it back up the hill to my apartment and be able to go home to the fam on Christmas day. When I wasn't worried about the tires, I spent the day working on puppet shows. Sometimes I love my job. Who else gets to write puppet shows and get paid for it? OK, I'm sure there are a variety of people out there who get to, but I think it's pretty awesome that it's part of my job. The puppets are doing the "sermon" at the family service tomorrow night, and then helping with the carols and readings at the carol service on Sunday. It's fun to let my multiple personalities out to play!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Other Elves

I drove down the hill today to got to a meeting and run some errands. It's my day off, but I stopped by the church (mostly to use the bathroom). As I was heading home I went the way I usually do. It's the route that makes the most sense, usually, as it avoids making a left turn onto a very busy street. There is one particular intersection, though, that has been more slippery than others since the snow started. Today was no different and despite my caution I started to slide, couldn't correct and got stuck in a drift of snow at the side of the road. Grr... Did what I could, but nothing was working. People were driving by (probably laughing) and I was saying not nice things about winter while I tried to get out. But then 2 lovely, lovely people stopped. They weren't together--these were 2 seperate lovely people who both stopped to help and in short order got me out of the drift and on my way. The funniest part of the whole story is that I couldn't really say thank you because as soon as I actually started moving, the man was yelling "go go go!" So off I drove, waving and shouting thank you. Hopefully they heard. They were elves or angels or whatever you want to call them. I'm just grateful they were so kind.

Shoveling Elves

The shoveling elves are outside right now. I can hear them removing the snow from in front of my building and I think I love them. I love them so much I might go outside and propose. OK, maybe not, but I do love them. We got several more inches last night. It's pretty, and since they're keeping my hill well plowed and sanded so far I haven't had any trouble with the drive into town. My only concern now is for Christmas morning when I drive home. My brother is checking with the drivers at work who drive between here and there and he's going to keep me updated on conditions. I can't complain too much since I have friends in Portland and Seattle who can't even get out to fly home, so at least it's not that bad.
Yesterday I preached on the ways we are all called to bring God into the world. One person told me they thought my sermon was "cute." I'm not sure what that means. I guess I'll take cute over "that sucked" any day, but it threw me off there for a minute. Whatever.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Swiss Cheese Brain

So....apparently I've blocked most of High School. I'd suspected this before, but sometimes I'm reminded of it at odd moments. Today I had someone from High School add me as a friend on facebook. The name seemed familiar, but for the life of me I couldn't remember anything about the person. I finally decided they'd been 2 years ahead of me and dug out the yearbooks. No luck. Looked one year back, and sure enough 2 years ahead of me, just hadn't been pictured in the first one I tried. Small details then started to filter back, but not much. I don't know if this is a very sad commentary on the state of my brain or fairly typical, but it sure as heck doesn't give me much confidence in the capabilities of my memory!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Five--Almost Christmas

There are only five full days before Christmas Day, and whether you use them for shopping, wrapping, preaching, worshiping, singing or traveling or even wishing the whole darn thing were over last Tuesday, there's a good chance they will be busy ones.

So let's make this easy, if we can: tell us five things you need to accomplish before Christmas Eve.

1. Finish wrapping Christmas presents
2. Write a puppet show for the 5:00 service
3. Finish making a scarf
4. Buy socks (long story)
5. Possibly do a funeral, but maybe not (another long story)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hope

The world is full of a lot of crap. Yes, cheery, isn't it? But this is the thought that has gone through my head several times in the past couple of weeks. It seems like every time I turn around there is something else happening that sucks. It's happening in the world, in my state and city, and to too many of my friends. My heart aches for so many people and there have been moments when it has been overwhelming. Too often I have no idea what to say, and I feel completely helpless. I wonder about God's involvement. It's Advent, a season when we talk a lot about hope, about God coming into the world and bringing a new kind of light into the darkness. I've preached on it, written newsletter articles about it, talked about it, but I haven't always been feeling it. (and don't get me started on how THAT makes me feel as a pastor) Anyway, just when I was feeling the worst about all of the crap in the world, I had my own moment of hope today. It's a long story, and not one I can share here, but it was a bright spot in an otherwise dark week. It made me realize that a little hope goes a long way, that there are people out there who are willing to be helpful and grace-filled, and that I need to pay more attention to and for just these moments.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Battle Cry

This week as it has been cold and snowy and snowy and cold, I have heard one phrase repeated by numerous people: "At least we don't live in Fargo!" My apologies to anyone from ND, the point seems to be simply that cold and crappy it might be right now, but it will only last a limited time, not for months like in the Midwest. So there you have it. In completely random and unrelated news, I'm getting a hair cut tomorrow. It's been 2 months since I chopped most of it off, and I think it's been cute up til about a week ago. Now I'm starting to look like Mrs. Brady, or possibly the mom from the Family Circus before they updated her hair. In other words, the 70's mom hair is really not the look I'm going for right now...

Monday, December 15, 2008

This Week's Horoscope

Oh my:
aries (Mar. 21st-Apr. 20th)You're hot like New York City salsa and bursting with "flavor" like a bag of tortilla chips just begging to be opened. It will be difficult to hide the way you feel. Men: avoid tight pants; women: wear underwear, especially at functions where your animal urges won't be all that well received (e.g., the office water cooler and your house of worship). However, all's fair at late night dance clubs and holiday office parties--hell, go to those naked for all we care.
So many inappropriate comments I could make about going commando at church...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday

It's cold! I know I already mentioned it, but it's colder today. I got to church this morning at 6:00 and discovered that while the parking lot had been visited by the plowing elf the shoveling elves were apparently on strike. So I shoveled 2 of our 3 walks but then I had to give up because my toes were cold. Despite the wool socks, it turns out toes get cold when the wind chill factor is -30! First service I had microphone problems, 2nd service I lost my voice. I've been fighting a cold and today apparently it took hold. I didn't lose it completely, which is good, but several people told me every time I talked they wanted to clear their throats. It didn't hurt as bad as it sounded, but my throat has gotten worse as the day has gone on. After 2nd service we had a "crafternoon" to decorate wreaths for our shut-in members. It used to be Advent Craft Evening, but we changed it to an afternoon event this year and calling it a crafternoon just stuck. It was a small group because of the weather, but still a lot of fun. This evening we have groups going out to deliver the wreaths, and I had intended to go with them, but I got home, fell asleep and didn't wake up until after 5:30. So, a bit of a crazy day overall but not bad. Now I hope the cold goes away and my voice comes back.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Brrr!



It's cold today! And we got our first significant snowfall. Here there are only a few inches, but I have friends who are having blizzard warnings where they live. It's cold right now, but the temperature is supposed to drop all day. By tomorrow they're predicting below zero. Thursday it was in the 40's. Welcome to winter in Western MT! In good news, I have nowhere to be today. I'm hanging out, with the Christmas tree lights plugged in , still in my pj's, and listening to Christmas music. My plans for the day include watching Holiday Inn, crocheting on some projects I've got going, reading, napping, taking a long, hot bath, and at some point finishing about an hour left of planning for tomorrow's adult forum. It's a good day. Oh! And about a 1/2 an hour ago 2 men came by and shoveled my steps and sidewalk. There are times when I love apartment living!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Five--The Eyes Have It

1. What color are your beautiful eyes? Did you inherit them from or pass them on to anyone in your family?
My eyes are blue, like my mom's and my grandma's (although depending on lighting or what I'm wearing they can be gray or green). It's a strong blue gene, because my mom's siblings both have brown eyes, but she got grandma's blue ones. Same thing with my nieces. 2 have brown eyes, middle one got the blue ones.

2. What color eyes would you choose if you could change them?
When I was little I wanted them to be brown, but I've grown to appreciate them for the color they are.

3. Do you wear glasses or contacts? What kind? Like 'em or hate 'em?
I wear both (well one or the other). I can see about 6 inches before things get blurry. I've had glasses since the first grade, so mostly I don't even think about it anymore, but I've definitely gone through phases where I hated them.

4. Ever had, or contemplated, laser surgery? Happy with the results?
Contemplated it. I always manage to talk myself out of it. I figure my eyes would be the ones that somehow got screwed up. Maybe someday if I can afford it I'll talk myself into it.

5. Do you like to look people in the eye, or are you more eye-shy?
I usually try to look people in the eye. Some situations are harder than others, and if I'm uncomfortable or embarrassed about something the eye-contact is less.

Bonus question: Share a poem, song, or prayer that relates to eyes and seeing.
Since I read KT's blog all I can think of is jeepers creepers. Then for some reason When Irish Eyes are Smiling pops into my head, but I don't even know the words to that except for the title. Apparently I am uninspired today...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cuz KT did it...




Your Quirk Factor: 75%



You're so quirky, it's hard for you to tell the difference between quirky and normal.

No doubt about it, there's little about you that's "normal" or "average."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Slight Panic

Tonight was the Sunday School Christmas program. 2 of our college kids wrote and directed it, and everyone did a great job. The kids were so cute! I had a moment, though. I got to church wearing jeans and a black sweater. I thought I looked fine. Then SP showed up, still in his collar from this morning and I had an immediate flash back to internship. It wasn't a full-blown panic attack but I definitely had a moment. The sweater isn't even low cut or in any way inappropriate and my brain still geared up for someone to yell at me. I'm eagerly anticipating the day when this isn't going to be my first reaction to anything that might make me think of internship. Sigh.
In other news, thank you to everyone who has offered up prayers for my sister this week. The surgery went well and she is doing better than she anticipated. We're hoping recovery will continue going just as smoothly and the 3 year old won't make too many demands on mama while she recovers.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Yoga

I did yoga this morning for the first time ever. I've always wanted to try it, but never worked up the courage to go to a class. Our office manager was recently certified as a yoga instructor and has decided to do a class here at the church once a week. So I didn't even have to leave and there were only 4 of us, which I can handle for my first foray. I've been told before that I don't relax well, and apparently it's true. It was a very relaxing, very nice hour (with some good stretch to the muscles, too, don't get me wrong, I'm definitely feeling it), but the more I thought about my breath and relaxing the harder it became to actually relax. Does that make me odd?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Blah

Some days, I swear, everything I say is misinterpreted. I just tried to be helpful and got yelled at and told I was "talking down to" the person. Am I this oblivious to my own tactlessness? I know I have a tendency to say the wrong thing, so I try really hard not to. Clearly I need to try harder.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Re-Entry

I've heard returning from vacation referred to as "re-entry." Right now this is a phrase that makes sense to me. I had a fabulous week of vacation, and now I'm feeling kind of sluggish in terms of getting back to work. Yesterday was mostly meetings, and it wasn't too bad, but today I'm struggling. I had a horrible time getting out of bed this morning, and now I'm procrastinating on this week's sermon and adult forum. I don't wanna. And yet I know I need to. So I'll shut up already and get to it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pictures

A few pictures from the last week:


It was sooo cold when we visited her, but I'm so glad we went! (that's the Statue of Liberty in case you were wondering...)
From our trip to Chinatown. I just thought this was a fun street.

Empire State Building, all lit up for Thanksgiving, as seen from the top of the Rockefeller.



Fairly self-explanatory...



So fun! Never expected to see Monty Python on Broadway, but I'm so glad I did.


Imagine Circle in Strawberry Fields in Central Park, across from the Dakota.






Home

I am home, my luggage is not. Plane was late leaving Newark, and I barely made my flight in SLC, so I wasn't surprised to go to baggage claim and find my suit case hadn't made the trip with me. I'm sooo tired. I've either been up since 5:00 (actually not that unusual for a Sunday morning) or it's now 2:10 in the morning. Either way I'm tired. Too tired to sleep. I hate that feeling. And I can't brush my teeth. I also hate that feeling. But my suitcase should be here tomorrow. In updating news, I finally saw the Statue of Liberty up close! The weather was miserable, but it cut down on the crowds, so we spent a couple of hours this morning at Ellis and Liberty Islands before I had to catch my flight. Weather-wise, I had an awesome week, so I can't complain that it was rainy and yucky one day. And now to bed, hopefully to fall asleep. Pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Day 5

Looong day today.  Went to the top of the Empire State Building (very cool!), went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (WAY too many people, neither of us could take it, so we barely stayed), ate lunch at a really cute, really good place on Madison Ave, wandered around Grand Central Station for awhile, then went to Madison Square Garden for a Knicks game.  Our seats were awesome and the Knicks won.  Now I must pack and go to bed.  I can't believe I have to leave already, but what an amazing trip!  More later when I'm not so tired, and I'll post some pictures after I get home.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day 4

A much more laid back day, thankfully.  We took the train into the city again, then rode the subway out to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty.  Unfortunately the line to get on the ferry was HUGE, and we would have been in it for a couple of hours at least.  So we opted just to take pictures from very far away.  Maybe I'll still get a chance to see her up close, but I don't know.  Instead we got back on the subway and headed to Canal Street for some shopping.  Lots of people.  Lots.  It was a good exercise in shoving my way through crowds while keeping a good  hand on my purse.  At one point I got rubbed up against by a cop, and I'm fairly sure he swerved deliberately to do it.  It was odd.  I felt slightly violated. :-)  The other strange thing was that people kept whispering in our ears about watches and handbags.  We'd just say no thanks and they wouldn't push it, but it was so weird to suddenly have this whispery voice in my ear offering me name brand stuff.  From Canal street we went to Chinatown for lunch in a restaurant recommended by a friend of the aunt's.  It was really good, as evidenced by the long line we had to stand in just to eat.  I think we were in line for 30-45 minutes (still better than trying to see the statue!).  Oh, and the guy in front of us was super cute and he was totally making eye contact.  I think he might even have been flirting.  I'm never sure, I think my radar sucks for that sort of thing; he might have just been being nice.  But, I also wonder, why don't men in my own state make eye contact and flirt?  Of course, this man also didn't know my profession...  Anyhoo, after an afternoon of shopping we came back to New Jersey and went to worship at Temple Emanu-El.  It was really nice to worship when I was in charge of exactly nothing.  And most of the time I wasn't even sure of what was going on, so I didn't have to analyze the liturgy like my brain normally insists on doing.  The temple has 2 rabbis, a man and a woman and tonight the (ahem) "lady" rabbi led most of the service and preached, which was really fun.  She was also wearing kick-ass boots, something I always appreciate!  Oh, and not one person talked to us the entire time we were there.  I wasn't expecting much, but not even the ushers said a word.  Not hi, not nothing.  It was awkward, and it was nice of the aunt to indulge me by going with.  I did take the initiative and introduce myself to the associate rabbi after the service, so at least we talked to someone.   And now we are home.  

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day 3

Another good day.  Started out with sleeping in, going for coffee, and watching some of the parade on TV.  It was so cool to see places that I was just at yesterday!  We had a 1:00 dinner reservation at a place with an amazing view of NYC.  I was (again) such a gawky tourist, but it was fun, and the meal was fabulous.  I enjoyed every bite of my untraditional seafood risotto.  The aunt made up for it with traditional turkey.  After we ate we took a ferry into the city and then a bus to Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas Spectacular.  I'm glad we went, it was fun to see the Rockettes live, but I'm thinking once was enough.  It was fun, but not my favorite thing ever.   Since we were right across the street from Rockefeller center we got to see the ice rink and the tree (which is up but not yet lit) and we went up 70 stories to the "top of the rock."  The view was so cool.  I took pictures, but not sure how they turned out (it's sometimes hard to tell on that little screen).  That was enough for one day, so we reversed the course, bus to ferry to car and came home.  Good times.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Vacation Day 2

Or maybe it's one since I spent all day yesterday traveling.  But whatever.  Today was amazing.  We took the train into the city this morning, and got there about 11:00.  I was a total dorky tourist, because I kept finding myself gawking at everything.  Anyhoo, first thing we did was get tickets for the matinee for Spamalot.  Oh my lord it was hilarious.  I actually had an asthma attack in the middle of the first act because I was laughing so hard.  My first broadway show.  I still can hardly  believe it, but I'm so glad we went!  Between buying the tickets and the start time we walked to Strawberry Fields in Central Park and took pictures of the Imagine Circle and the Dakota.  The Dakota is where John Lennon was shot, and generally I'm not a big fan of going to places where people have been shot (although the aunt seems to be), but it was right there, so I took pictures.  Depressing.  But I love John, so it was a journey that had to be made. After the show we took the subway back to Times Square (or somewhere close by--who knows, I have a terrible sense of direction), then walked to the theater for the show.  Afterwards we had dinner in an Irish Pub and then walked the Empire State building.  Very cool.  It's all lit up in Thanksgiving colors.  We decided to wait until we're there in the daylight to go up, though.  A bit too expensive to do it twice.  Then we rode the subway again (we're such pros now...) and went to where they were blowing up the balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.  It was very cool to see the balloons, but there were so many people I thought I might actually go a little bit crazy.  We were like cattle in a chute.  I am sooo not a city girl in crowds like that!  It was a long day made longer by delays on the train ride home (getting in took an hour, getting home took 3), but what a fabulous day it was!  Now I must go to bed and rest up for tomorrow's adventure!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Jersey

I'm in New Jersey.  No, really.  My aunt lives in Newark, and we have a tradition of spending Thanksgivings together, so here I am, 3 plane rides (one of which I almost missed to to weird signage in the Cincinnati  airport) later and I'm in Newark.  Maybe not the place I've always dreamed I would come for any sort of holiday, but my aunt is a hoot and any place we hang out is bound to be a good time.  It's been a long day, and I've been up since 4 am, but tomorrow we're going into New York, and I've never been, so I'm very excited!  More later.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Horoscope

aries (Mar. 21st-Apr. 20th)Give thanks for all the confidence you have, all the knowledge you possess, all the smooth moves you can throw down like butter, because they're going to make you more appealing than a pool-sized vat of creamy mashed potatoes you could swim in naked. Now that's hot.
Yeah, I'm going to have to go with ew on the whole mashed potatoes thing. I'm also sad that I'm not getting my bathroom cleaned this week...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Five--Kitchen Gadgets

1) Do you have a food processor? Can you recommend it? Which is to say, do you actually use it?
I don't have a food processor, just an eensy tiny chopper thingie. I don't use it often, but it's handy when I need to chop up lots of veggies or something.

2) And if so, do you use the fancy things on it?
No fancy things. Just a lid and a blade. Very exciting.

3) Do you use a standing mixer? Or one of the hand-held varieties?
I currently have a hand-held mixer, but I've coveted the Kitchen Aids in the fun colors for a long time. I know, I shouldn't covet, but I really really want one some day!

4) How about a blender? Do you have one? Use it much?
Don't currently have one. Another thing in my someday category.

5) Finally, what old-fashioned, non-electric kitchen tool do you enjoy using the most?
Maybe this is an odd choice, but I really like spatulas. Not really sure why, but there you have it.

Bonus: Is there a kitchen appliance or utensil you ONLY use at Thanksgiving or some other holiday? If so, what is it?
Well, I really only use a turkey baster and my roasting pan on Thanksgiving. And I don't use my potato masher that often. This whole post sounds like I don't really cook, doesn't it? I like to cook, I just don't do much since it's just me. Which is probably why I don't have that many fun gadgets with which to do lots of fancy cooking.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh Man

I was just in the church kitchen getting some lunch when I heard a squeaking/chirping noise from the pantry. I went in to look, and there's a tiny little mouse in the trap. If it were already dead, I could take care of it, but because it's still alive I had to ask our custodian to deal with it. What an icky way to begin the afternoon.

Wednesday Morning Meanderings

I'm having a terrible time getting motivated this morning. So many things I should be doing, so many ways to procrastinate. A few thoughts for the day:
  • Last week I was told (in a roundabout way) that I'm not a "real" pastor, I'm just a girl
  • In a half-awake moment a couple of nights ago I got an idea for a children's book. It's not really even a half-baked idea, it's probably only an 1/8 baked, but I'm going to continue thinking about it and see if it leads anywhere.
  • Being an associate has its goods and bads: There are times when I love being able to defer because it's not my decision to make, but I hate when people "confide" in me their dissatisfaction with the senior pastor.
  • My neighbors NEED to move their headboard a couple inches away from the wall...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How Reading Ruined My Preaching

One of my favorite authors is Terry Brooks, who wrote (among other things) a series of books about a magic kingdom called Landover. Today while preaching I was fine during the first service but during the second service every time I tried to say the word landowner it came out as Landover. It was annoying but funny at the same time. I wonder how many people actually caught the reference.
In birthday news I went home Friday, spent the night, and then yesterday helped the fam celebrate youngest niece's 3rd birthday. It was a fun afternoon, but I think we kind of freaked her out when we sang Happy Birthday. There were quite a few of us singing and we got pretty loud. As we sang her eyes kept getting bigger and bigger and she finally had to have a snuggle with mom before she could come back blow out her candle. Other than that she seemed like she had a lot of fun being 3. Apparently it's just a scary song, though, because while we were singing it her friend had to have her mom take her back to the farthest bedroom and shut the door until we were done. Who knew Happy Birthday could be so scary?
And finally, this is my 100th post. Probably I should have something exciting and celebratory to say. Just make something up and pretend I typed it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Simple Moments

I was sitting in text study yesterday morning feeling somewhat overwhelmed and depressed and useless. No one big thing caused this, just a couple of little things that had built up and taken over for some reason at that point in the morning. It was frustrating and I was feeling pretty inadequate. Then yesterday afternoon at staff meeting apparently we were all feeling a little loopy. There were several points during the meeting when we started to giggle, which led to laughing so hard I was crying and I thought I might just fall off my chair and roll around on the floor with laughter. Today there were a couple of similar moments of silliness, as well as some good conversations, in person, on the phone, over e-mail. All of these things were small moments of grace in the chaos for me. Sometimes I take myself , my job, and life too seriously. It's nice when I'm reminded of God's presence by something, even something so simple as giggling in staff meeting. Tonight I'm making pizza from scratch and settling in for a stormy (outside, not in my life) evening of working on Christmas presents. Life is good. I just need to keep remembering that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Comic

I love Over the Hedge, and this seemed especially appropriate today:

Previous | Start | Next
Over the Hedge Nov 11, 2008
Tue Nov 11, 3:00 AM ET

Monday, November 10, 2008

Horoscope

This week's horoscope:

aries (Mar. 21st-Apr. 20th)
It's time to get in touch with your inner, black-clad, shit-kicker-boots-wearing, whip-wielding, six-foot-two dominatrix. Her name is Cassandria. Channel her energy this week and you should get whatever and whomever you want. You might even find someone to kiss your feet and clean your bathroom. Domination has its privileges.

Huh. I'm really excited about the bathroom cleaning thing...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weekend

I taught first communion class yesterday. I wasn't sure how many kids would actually show up, but I had 4 boys, ages 10 and 11. They were goofy and hyper and totally fun. We talked about communion, baked the bread for church today, tasted the wine, and giggled a lot in the process (not from the wine!). They were so cute. I don't know how much they actually retained, but it was a good class. Afterward I met my mom, sister, my sister's exchange student and her friend (who is also an exchange student) for some shopping and dinner. It was so nice to get out and laugh and spend some girl time with my family. If only the waiter would have brought me the crackers for my soup before I actually finished the soup, it would have been perfect. But since I can't have everything I'll settle for a couple of crackers short of perfect. This morning I taught adult forum. I was far from brilliant, but I don't think I made an absolute idiot of myself. Now I'm settled in for an evening of crocheting, watching movies, and eating chocolate, and I'm about to go make myself some tea. Heaven.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Yurt! and Other Adventures

Last week I stayed in my first yurt. If you're ever having a bad day, just say the word yurt! a couple of times, it's highly entertaining. :-) The yurt experience was while I was on vacation in CA. I flew into Sacramento where a friend of mine lives and the next day we drove to Berkeley for the Luther Lectures. where one of my favorite seminary professors was the speaker. So I got some continuing ed with my vacation and got to see people I hadn't gotten to see in awhile. All in all a good day. The next day we drove to Big Sur where we stayed a yurt resort. Yep, not only did we stay in a yurt, we stayed in a yurt resort! Good times, let me tell you. Actually, it was really cool. I'd never had a desire to stay in a yurt, but I'm glad we went, it was a lot of fun. And so very cute inside!

In other adventures, I finally got my driver's license transferred. You wouldn't think it would be that difficult, but it took me 5 trips to the DMV. The first time I was told when I got there that the computers were down. I went back the next day only to find out that I needed a certified copy of my birth certificate or a current passport, neither of which I possessed. So I ordered the birth certificate. I went back on Monday of this week and everything went swimmingly until the last moment when the system went down. Again. So I tried again on Tuesday, only to remember half way there that it was election day so they were closed. Finally on Wednesday I was able to complete the process, although only after running to get cash because I'd forgotten my check book like a big dork. Sheesh.
Sunday was a looong day. Good, but long. I preached at both services. During education hour we put together 82 boxes for Operation Christmas Child. All the Sunday School classes from the preschool to the Adult Forum were involved, so the fellowship hall was pretty chaotic, but it was a lot of fun and everybody did a great job. After 2nd service I took 13 3-5 graders swimming. Good times, even with the accidental bloody nose. After that it was the annual cluster meeting. It was a good day, but after all that I went to bed at 8:30.

And finally, this week was First Call Theological Education for 2 1/2 days. I was a little panicked about leaving because I have so much do to, but the conference went well. It was nice to spend some time with new colleagues and reconnect with the people I met last year.

Tomorrow I teach First Communion class and Sunday I teach adult forum. Hopefully they both go well and I won't make an absolute idiot of myself.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So Much to Type

So little time. I have much to update on: vacation, crazy experiences at the DMV, continuing ed, swimming with 3-5 graders, my somewhat odd voting experience. I also have an overwhelming amount of stuff to do at the church before I leave again for First Call Theological Education this afternoon. I haven't fallen off the face of the planet, I just need to find more than 3 minutes to actually type an update. In the meantime, I'm so glad the elections are over! It was an exciting and historic campaign, but I get so tired of all the ads. So hooray that it's over for many reasons.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Reformation

Today in the Lutheran Church we celebrate Reformation Sunday. We, like many churches, also did Confirmation today. We had 5 students confirmed, and it was a good day. They're a really nice group of kids. So, lots of stuff going on at church, but you know one of the things I was most excited about? I got to wear a different color stole. Yes, I know that's about the least of things I should be excited, but as much as I love my green stole, after wearing it for the last few months it was nice to wear a different color. I am shallow.
After church I had time for a quick nap at home before heading off to 2 different church related social events. There's an episode of The Vicar of Dibley where she eats something like 4 different Christmas dinners in one day. Today wasn't that bad, but I went to a Confirmation celebration this afternoon and of course there was food. I tried to eat light, but it was really good, and I definitely ate too much pineapple. Then I headed off to an evening meal with the Graceful Dining group. And ate again. I am SO stuffed right now.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Reball

I spent Thursday and Friday evenings this week with the youth group from our church and two other churches playing reball. Reball is like paintball, only without the paint. Instead you use little, soft, yellow rubber balls that you can scoop up and reuse. I didn't play Thursday night, but got talked into playing last night. It was fun, but I definitely suck. Can't shoot straight. Got shot twice and have the welt/bruise on my thigh to prove it. And yet it was a lot of fun. The kids all seemed like they were having a good time as well. File this under the "sometimes my job is strange" category. Not every job involves 2 nights of playing reball!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Sleepover

Was great! Well, it still is since she's still here. 11 year old niece is currently watching a cartoon about race car driving while she practices driving the new remote control car her dad bought her last night. She's always loved cars, even when she was tiny she would get excited about old cars she saw around. Mom and Dad are coming to pick her up soon, but first we'll be heading to the mall to hang out at the book and pet stores. Then I have to write a sermon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Smattering of Stuff

I had a lovely e-mail from a friend of mine regarding my last post about passion. She had good questions and some good insight, which was nice. Thanks K-bomb! As I thought about it afterward I realized that some of what I'm feeling stems from family of origin stuff, as well as some very specific things going on at church right now. K-bomb also suggested that I need to find my passion in England (where she is currently living). Kind of sounds like a romance novel, don't you think? :-) The American pastor, on vacation in England when she encounters the passion she's been seeking... OK, I'll stop, but it definitely makes me giggle.

In other news, my oldest niece is getting her chance at a sleepover at Auntie's tonight. We couldn't find time during the summer, and she's been bugging me and her dad, so we finally found some time. I don't know what we're going to do, yet, but I'm hoping she has a good time. A couple of years ago she would never have wanted to stay with me. I'm happy we'll be having some one-on-one bonding time.

I had my annual exam on Tuesday. Don't worry, no details about the process. I simply bring it up because there's always the dreaded getting weighed process. I can't say my current weight was a surprise, but it's one thing to weigh myself in my own bathroom and quite another to do it in a doctor's office while a nurse writes down the results. So, my goal here is to have a different experience in a year when I go back. I want to be excited to step on the scale! The advantage is that I have a year to do this. The disadvantage is that I have a year to procrastinate about making healthy changes. I've put it out to the universe now, though, so hopefully I'll be able to stick to the plan.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Passion

No, this isn't an X-rated post, just a musing on what I have a passion for in life or ministry. Or lack thereof. Several of us from the church attended a synod-wide event this past weekend. The theme was evangelism, and it was a good event. I've heard good comments and good critiques, both about the event and about how we do things at our own church. Last night we had a debriefing session, and this morning I met with another woman who went. The point being, lots of people were excited about lots of stuff. Which is great. I love their excitement, and hopefully some things will grow out of that excitement. I realized though (and have been realizing over the course of several months and many conversations) that I'm just not that excited about much. Sometimes I worry that I don't seem to be passionate about anything. I love parts of my job, and I feel called to what I'm doing, but where is the passion? This is common in my whole life, not just with this call. Sometimes I think maybe it's just how I was raised, or my genetic make-up or something. Mostly I just worry. Maybe there's something wrong with me. Where is the passion? I really don't know. Maybe I should go searching.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's Been Awhile...

Since my last post. I think about things to write about quite frequently, but never seem to get around to doing it. So, what's been happening? Lots and not much at all. Church life is crazy and busy as usually happens in the Fall. As usual some days are great and others I wonder what in the h*** I got myself into. I wonder if that happens throughout the length of ministry? Do the wondering days get fewer?

In family news, my youngest niece was baptized on Sunday. She looked so cute. She's almost 3, so there were lots of discussions about what would happen during the baptism, and lots of practicing tipping her over the font. She did great during practice, but I think there were too many people watching during church, and she didn't want to do it at the actual baptism. In the video my sister and I look like we're wrestling her into position. It's kind of funny. She did great, though, and we all got through it, and now in all of the pictures she looks pretty smug about the whole thing. What I find really funny is that at one point on Saturday when we were playing I flipped her upside down over my shoulder and she just draped there like a snake. I wasn't even holding on for part of the time, but when it came to the tipping for baptism she was having none of it.

In a few minutes I'm going to go do chapel for the preschoolers. This is the first time this year, so we'll see how it goes. I have the 4 year olds this morning and the kinder-ready class this afternoon, then the 3 year olds tomorrow. Should be fun!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Leaping

"Life is, after all, a series of leaps of faith." I just read this in the book I'm currently working my way through, and it struck me. As what? Well, I'm not sure how it struck me exactly, just that it did. How often do I leap? Do I ever? I'm sure I must sometimes, but I like the familiar. I like the comfortable, and even though I think I frequently try to expand the boundaries of my comfort zone I wonder if I ever just leap and trust that God will be with me in that leap? Maybe I should do this more often. Maybe I should be more trusting, both of myself and of God.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Flabbergasted

I just went searching for an out of print commentary on Matthew, written by one of my favorite seminary professors. The least expensive copy I found was $45, the most expensive $132. All I can say is Wow. And that I won't be buying a copy any time soon. Sadness.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Five--Fall is Here

As this vivid season begins, tell us five favorite things about fall:

1) A fragrance
It's probably not environmentally friendly, but I like the smell of wood smoke. Not forest fire smoke, just the smell of a campfire or wood stove.

2) A color
The gorgeous fuchsia some of of the leaves turn.

3) An item of clothing
Sweaters! I love the return of sweater season!

4) An activity
"Fun Fall Thing" which in my family really just means roasting hot dogs and marshmallows in the back yard. Oh, and jumping in leaf piles! My parents have 4 huge maples in their yard (and 5 when we were growing up), so we always had plenty of leaves to rake and play in.

5) A special day
This year my youngest niece is being baptized on October 5th, and I'm her godmother, so that's a special Fall day I'm definitely looking forward to.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Funny

aries (Mar. 21st-Apr. 20th)
Secret affairs will lead to disaster if you don't control the situation. Shakespeare wasn't making this s*** up, you know.

Huh. I don't generally read my horoscope (there are so many, how can it all come "true?"), but I read this one while I was reading through something else this morning. Doesn't really say anything, does it? And yet it cracked me up. If only I HAD a secret affair, disaster or no! :-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Veggie Tales


My sister and youngest niece came to town yesterday. We had lunch and then went to see Veggie Tales Live. It was a lot of fun, the 2 year old clapped and danced and sang along, she was really cute to watch. We were a little worried that the 8 foot tall Larry the Cucumber might freak her out, but she did really well. Mom and auntie clapped and danced and sang along, too. After the events of the last week, I really needed the afternoon away. It was a nice way to spend some time, I got to hang out with 2 of my favorite people, and I got to be away from the church for awhile. Yay for the veggies!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Better

Last night's crying jag was actually really cathartic. Not exactly happy about being called mean and uncaring in a situation that is not my fault, but apparently I was long over due for a release of emotions. Of course, today I had a bit of an emotional hangover, but things were much clearer this morning when I woke up, and I'm feeling much better today. Things will continue to be awkward and uncomfortable at church for awhile, and the drama keeps unfolding on a day-by-day and sometimes minute-by-minute basis, but I things will get better eventually, and there have been positive moments in the whole mess, so that's been something. Now I'm just hoping that the skunk of last night doesn't decide to make another appearance since I spent the majority of the night breathing in that lovely aroma, even after closing all of the windows.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mean

Apparently I'm not nice. It's been commented on twice in the last couple of days, over things that I thought I was trying really hard to be pastoral about. Having flashbacks to internship where I kept being told I was "cold, stand-offish, and a bitch." Apparently I'm just not nice.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Rally Day

It was a crazy and fun day at church today. SP and I did a puppet show during both services that led into the sermon. It was a dialog between the puppets and SP, and then I kept referring to it in the sermon like the puppets are real people. Which, of course, to me, they are. Hopefully no one thinks I'm too crazy! Between services we kicked off Sunday School, Confirmation, and Adult Forum. Sunday School registration went better than I expected, which was a relief. It was mass chaos, but I'd pretty much figured that would be the case. We had a good group of kids, and we almost, finally, have enough teachers, which is another relief. In the meantime the Confirmation kids were in the narthex playing the knot game, being forced to mingle, but looking like they were having a good time. After 2nd service we had a big picnic with a tent, live music, a big blow up slide, a bounce house and games put on by the Youth Group. I jumped in the bounce house with 3 little girls and had a great time, although now my legs hurt! I also got my face painted. It was a good day, which was nice, because it was a hectic and stressful week for a lot of reasons I can't really go into yet. It was nice to just be outside and chat with people in a casual and fun environment.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wedding

I did my first wedding today. It was lovely. We were hoping that the rain would hold off, which it did until right as the attendants were coming down the aisle. Then it sprinkled for the entire ceremony. And quit right after the ceremony was over. Ironic. Fortunately it never rained hard, so we were able to do the service outside as planned. Oh, and I forgot the unity candle part of the service even though I had it written down in my hymnal. Just looked right past it. So I felt bad, but the good part was that it cut about 5 minutes out of the ceremony that could have been spent in the rain. They just did the candle later when they were cutting the cake and doing toasts. So, not perfect, but not bad, either. I'm grateful that the first wedding I did was for a couple with whom I have a bit of a connection, and a family that I really like. The bride and groom were both pretty laid back and didn't stress too much over the details of the day, which was nice to experience, especially since I was nervous about the first one. I had really weird anxiety dreams last night, but fortunately the reality was much better than the crazy world of my subconscious.

Turquoise

I got a new cell phone recently. The old one had been dropped a few too many times and was starting to come apart a bit. The new phone is cute. Turquoise. It was sitting on the coffee table the other day along with my ipod and I realized that they're pretty much the same color. The ipod is a little more green-y, but they're both turquoise. Then I started noticing the color all over. Big tapestry in my living room, pillows on the couch, several articles of clothing, one of the colors in the comforter on my bed, etc. I knew all of these things were turquoise, but I guess I'd never stopped to realize how prevalent the color seems to be in my life right now. Blue has always been my favorite color, but it used to be navy blue. Now I seemed to have moved on. This post really has no point other than to say "huh." And to procrastinate on working on the sermon of course. :-)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sunday School & Confirmation & Youth Group, Oh My!

This Sunday is Rally Day here (and a lot of other places, too, I know), so as the staff person who is "in charge" of these things I've been working on getting things set up. Meetings with teachers and figuring out schedules, meeting with the Senior Pastor, etc. Overall I'd say it's going pretty well. And yet I keep having waves of panic strike at various moments. It's my first year, and I'm not sure what I'm doing a lot of the time, but I have good people that I'm working with, and for the most part I think everything will be fine. Doesn't shut up that voice in the back of my head that keeps whispering about failure, though. So I'll do a puppet show on Sunday and preach about Rally Day and upcoming ministries and register kiddos for Sunday School and Confirmation, and go to a picnic, do what I can to make the day and the education year the best it can be. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Five--Labor Day

1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.
I'm thankful that I've never had a truly terrible job (a la Mike Row and Dirty Jobs), but the worst one was my 9 month stint as a receptionist and knowing that about 90% of the time answering the phone would result in someone yelling at me for something completely beyond my control. And having to use the paging system freaked me out for a ridiculously long time.
2. Tell us about the best job you ever had.
I'm supposed to say the one I have now, right? I'd have to go with the day care job I had after high school. The kiddos were 3 months and 2 1/2 years when I started. It was supposed to last a year before I went off to college, but I fell in love with the babies and stayed for 2 1/2. They're now 15 and almost 18 and that makes me feel OLD.
3. Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions.
I would write children's books. Bright, happy, silly, rhyming children's books.
4. Did you get a break from labor this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do about it?
I had some little breaks. Nothing big and formal. I hung out with friends and took a couple of small road trips. I have plans to go to CA in October and NJ in November, though, so that should be fun.
5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading?
We're gearing up for Fall now: Sunday School, Confirmation, Youth Group, etc. There will be a lot more juggling of roles for me once Fall officially hits. I'm both anticipating and dreading. I think we have a lot of good stuff happening and I'm excited about it. Also worried that I'm going to screw up monumentally.
Bonus question: For the gals who are mothers, do you have an interesting story about labor and delivery (LOL)? If you are a guy pal, not a mom, or you choose not to answer the above, is there a song, a book, a play, that says "workplace" to you?
Hmmm....I have a book shelf with nothing but Luther on it. That seems pretty work place-y to me. Either that or I'm a big nerd. Probably both.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mmm...Chocolate

So yesterday was a little crazy, I was feeling more than a little overwhelmed, and there were moments when the crazy had me on the verge of full-on panic. A friend asked me if there was anything he could do to help and I jokingly said he could send me some fabulous chocolate. And so he did. Let me also mention that this particular friend happens to live in NC, and I haven't even seen him in 11 years, yet he hopped on the internet, found a place here in town and ordered me some fabulous chocolate. I just went and picked it up, and I think I'm in love. Wow. One option is chocolate covered nut clusters, the other a Brazilian coffee bar made with dark chocolate. I'm not usually a dark chocolate fan, but this may cause a conversion. All I can say is that it's a good thing there aren't any parishioners around to hear the happy sounds coming from my office. This week may be on the crazy side, but the grace has found me in the form of an amazing friend who managed to brighten my day (my whole week) from long-distance.

Mediocre Sermon, Hot Shoes

I preached on Sunday and wasn't exactly thrilled with my sermon. It wasn't bad, but it was one of those weeks where it took me too long to find the jumping off point of the sermon, and then the writing process was struggle. At least I got it done and while it wasn't great, I didn't think it was awful, either. As so often happens, though, I've had a couple of comments from people on how much they liked the sermon. What I found funny, though, was that on Sunday I had more comments on my shoes (red ones from ordination) and my tattoo than on the service and the sermon. At first I was slightly disturbed by this. Then I just thought, hey, in the future when I have what I think is a mediocre sermon I'll just balance it out with hot shoes!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of school for the nieces, so Sunday after church I drove home to be there for the big day. It was a lot of fun. The brother's 3 girls are all in school, now: 6th, 3rd and Kindgergarten. We did our traditional first day of school pictures on Mom's porch, and then off they all went. They must have been excited, because usually you can't get them out of bed, but yesterday they were all ready by 7:30. They were SO cute. And I know I'm biased, but they really were all adorable with their new clothes and back packs. Mom does day care for another family who are about the same ages as our girls, but the youngest doesn't turn 5 until October, so she missed the deadline to start school this year. She's going to go to pre-school in a couple of weeks, but she was really bummed that 5 year old niece got to go to school and she had to stay home with the "babies" (my 2 year old niece was there as well as another little girl that mom babysits who is a year old). After a fun day of playing with the 3 youngest, I loaded the 2 and 1 year olds into the double stroller, grabbed the 4 year old by the hand and we all went to pick up the big kids. By the time we'd gathered them all it was me and 8 children under the age of 11 walking back to Mom's house. If that's not quality birth control right there, I don't know what is. They were actually all really good, and they all had great first days of school, but seriously, it was like herding cats to get them home. Now that I've taken this 10 minutes out of the morning to post about something fun, I have to get back to work. I'm seriously starting to panic. I'm possibly one of the worst pastors ever...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Visit




KAG, one of my dear friends from seminary is here visiting from CA this week. She flew into Spokane Sunday afternoon, and then we drove to DMK's house to spend the night. DMK had, ironically, flown to CA that same afternoon, but she was kind enough to let us stay at her house even though she wasn't there. Monday morning we got up and headed to Glaicer National Park for the day. The day was gorgeous, and the weather was just about perfect. We decided to try out the park's shuttle service instead of driving the Going to the Sun road, which is under construction. Not having to drive was great, but the shuttle system could definitely use some organization. After wandering around the Logan Pass visitor center for awhile (see the first picture), we caught another shuttle down and then drove home. I had to be back by 6:30 as I was leading our monthly movie night. Monday's are usually my day off, but SP is on vacation, so I was up. We watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (yay!) and had a short, but decent discussion after. Yesterday after I went in to work for a few hours we drove to Garnet Ghost Town. The signs say it's the "best preserved ghost town in MT." I don't know about that, but it was definitely interesting. Garnet was a mining town that had about 1,000 people in 1898, about 15 in 1905, and was pretty much a ghost town by the 20's, although it did have a brief revival in the 30's before a fire wiped out about half of the town. The 2nd picture is from our excursion to the ghost town. Sadly, though, we encountered no actual ghosts, just lots of old buildings. It was a great road trip with lots of giggling. My favorite sign said "WHO WAS FRANK HAMILTON?" as the caption. The first line was also "who was Frank Hamilton?" followed up by "no one really knows." Well, gee, that's helpful. All I can tell you is where he's buried. I still have no idea who he was. Probably a miner. Definitely dead. Today involved no adventures. It's raining, which is lovely, so we're mostly just hanging out. We wandered around the University earlier, but other than that I went to work and the church where I supply and KAG has enjoyed a lovely day of reading and watching the Olympics.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I get that transitions take time, but apparently I have little to no patience. People ask me how things are going and I always say they are "fine" or "going well," which is technically true, but I also feel like there is frequently an underlying sense of frustration. It seems like no matter how much I learn, how many questions I ask, or how many things I get accomplished I am still behind the curve. I realize part of this is just the nature of ministry. There are always too many things to do and not enough time in the day to accomplish them. There also a few people in the congregation who always make me feel judged, like I'm definitely behind the curve, and I'm simply not measuring up. Again, all part of ministry. I guess I'm just feeling a bit whiny. In a few minutes I will do my first pre-marriage counseling with a couple, and again, I only sort of know what I'm doing. The grace in this particular chaos? Um...I'll get back to you on that one.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fun Weekend


This past weekend was busy and a lot of fun. Friday night I left the church and drove 2 hours north to a friend's house for an Olympics opening ceremonies party. I grew up in a family that didn't really watch the opening ceremonies much, so it was fun to hang out with a bunch of people and watch some amazing pageantry. I spent that night at another friend's house, and then on Saturday drove 4 hours east to RAZS's. I even took Sunday off. First Sunday I've had off since February, if I remember correctly. It was lovely to sleep in and not worry about being up for the 8:00 service. Of course, I'm now completely confused as to what day it is, but I figure that's an OK price. Sunday afternoon we hiked up to Memorial Falls, which is the picture above. The hike was great, and then we hung out and watched the Olympics. Good times. Yesterday was RAZS's 30th birthday. Happy Birthday! So, after driving over 500 miles I came home and got to go to always fun and exciting meetings at the church last night. Today my parents were in town, so between more meetings I hung out with them and got spoiled a little bit. Mom enabled my shoe habit and bought me the cutest part of taupe, heeled, mary janes. Sigh.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Five--Summer

1. What is your sweetest summer memory from childhood? Did it involve watermelon or hand cranked ice cream? Or perhaps a teen summer romance. Which stands out for you?
My great-aunt owned an island on Flathead Lake where we had family reunions every summer on the 4th of July. It was one my favorite things to do ever summer even though the water was always freezing. We used to sit on the point eating watermelon and spitting the seeds into the lake. I was always convinced that one summer I would come back and there would be watermelon growing in the swimming area.

2. Describe your all time favorite piece of summer clothing. The one thing you could put on in the summer that would seem to insure a cooler, more excellent day.
In high school I had a green sun dress that I loved. It was cute, it was comfortable, it made me feel attractive. It hasn't fit in years...

3. What summer food fills your mouth with delight and whose flavor stays happily with you long after eaten?
I love love love cherries.

4. Tell us about the summer vacation or holiday that holds your dearest memory.
The 4th of July reunions come to mind, of course. One summer when I lived in TX my aunt and I spent a few days in Austin. It was 113 and muggy as heck, but road trips with her were always fun, and she can make me laugh like crazy.

5. Have you had any experience(s) this summer that has drawn you closer to God or perhaps shown you God's wonder in a new way?
I wish I had a really deep and profound answer to this one. I've been walking a lot this summer, and some of the views of the valley that I see in my neighborhood are pretty incredible.

Bonus question: When it is really hot, humid and uncomfortable, what do you do to refresh and renew body and spirit?
Hot and humid usually makes me cranky. I'm happy to be living in a place that is less humid than places I've lived before. But when I can't avoid it, finding some place to go swimming is always a nice option. If not, I like to lay in front of a fan with a big glass of ice water, read, and try to forget that it's sweltering.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Random Reflections

Some thoughts from the past week:

The Hell's Angels have been in town. I really haven't seen much of them as I've driven around, but I had someone come into my office to comment on the article in the local newspaper. It said that the group only accepts whites and she was quite upset about the lack of inclusivity. I wasn't sure what to tell her about that.

The graffiti has been painted over and so far no new incidents (knock on wood).

I've been having weird dreams. One night I dreamt that I had babies: Patrick and Zoe. They were very cute. The next night I had a HUGE black widow spider descending from my hair. It was not cute. Huh.

I got to watch Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone today. For work. With the rest of the staff. Some days I love my job. We were previewing it for a movie night we have once a month. Hopefully no one will yell at me over the choice, but if they do I guess it will be a chance for some dialog.

I'm taking Sunday off! First Sunday off in months, so I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday Five--Locked Out


From 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? Music is always good. And people watching. Who's annoyed and who's not? Who's annoyed but handling it well? Will anyone yell at the flag person? Are there any cute construction workers? How about scary ones? If I have a good, though, and it's going to be a long wait, that's usually the option I'll take.

2) Have you ever locked yourself out of your house? (And do you keep an extra key somewhere, just in case?) I seem to be notorious for locking myself out. House, car, church. The latest was just a couple of weeks ago. So far with the new apartment I've been really careful about always having my house key in my purse, and this day was no different. I'd double checked, and the key was in my purse. Unfortunately I was packing the car to go to bible camp for the week and in my capacity as pack horse I thought my purse was one of the bags I was carrying. No such luck. The locksmith was nice, though. And I now have a key secreted away in case of further lock outs.

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 suppose I could come up with an answer for this one, but I'd rather just post one of my favorite pictures of one of my favorite people: 4) What's your approach to a mental block? Generally I get cranky or panicky, depending on how much time I have. Sometimes I use it as an excuse to procrastinate, but that often makes things worse later. I'm also fortunate that when I do have a mental block ideas will frequently come to me in the shower. Now if I just had a waterproof laptop...

5) Suggest a caption for the picture above; there will be a prize for the funniest answer! I don't have a good suggestion for the picture above, but I think the little construction guys are cute. Captions aren't my strong suit, but I left the question, b/c otherwise this would only be the Friday Four!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Transitions

Tomorrow is August 1st which means I'll have been at my first call 3 months (in the grand scheme of things: no big deal, but on a smaller scale, where did those 3 months go?). At any rate, I'm fast reaching that place where I can no longer play the "I'm new here" card. For some things I'll still be able to pull that one out, but for others I need to actually know what the heck I'm talking about. I don't know what I'm talking about. Except that I do. Sort of. Maybe. I'm an I on the Myers Briggs, which means I think a lot before saying or doing things (and yes, I know, sometimes I should think more or make sure the filter is engaged before speaking). For the most part, though, I like to think and ask a lot of questions, maybe read some books, talk to other people, read some more books, ask a few more questions, write 100 or so pages of notes, and then possibly read just a few more books or resources before jumping into things. That doesn't work in ministry. I know this, but it doesn't stop my natural inclination to procrastinate by reading or writing or asking more questions. I had a long conversation about youth and family ministry today with another pastor, and it turns out that I have a lot of good ideas, that I actually do sort of know what I'm talking about, which is good considering that this is one of the things I'm responsible for in this call. My big hurdle is taking what I know and putting it to use. Where to start? How to use the systems already in place? How to overhaul systems that aren't working any more? All of this writing and thinking (and procrastinating) lead up to one conclusion: I like to do things right. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, but I know that I'm not perfect, so I'll settle for doing things well, as long as they're right. Dumb, huh? I know that I'm going to fail, and I know that I probably need to fail at a few things in order to learn from them. But I'm a perfectionist and I don't want to fail, or if I am going to fail, I want to make sure I do it RIGHT so I can learn from it. Yep, I know I have a wacky sense of perspective. These are things I've known about myself and worked on for a long time, and it looks like I'm going to continue working on them for some time to come. But for now, excuse me while I go read a book.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Police Report


See? It's not even good graffiti. Which I know isn't the point, but still, if we have to get tagged, couldn't they at least put some artistic effort into it? I went in today and filed the police report. It was relatively painless, but I was still somewhat resentful that I had to go in on my day off. I realize that ministry isn't a 9-5 job and I often have to be places on my day off, but to go in for this is just annoying. Once again I say, little punks. So we'll paint over it and I'll pray that those responsible find more constructive ways to spend their time.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Graffiti

The church was tagged with graffiti last night. Again. This is the 2nd time this summer. The extra bad part was that we had a youth group from MN staying at the church on their way to Lutherhaven and their church van also got tagged. I know it's not my fault, but as a host, I feel really bad. What a crappy thing to happen on a youth trip. And I'm old, because I actually found myself uttering the phrase, "little punks." So this week I get to file a police report. Oh the joy and rapture...

Weekend

It's been a very busy weekend. Thursday we had a staff meeting/retreat at my house in the afternoon. It wasn't supposed to be at my place, but things happened and SP asked if we could move it my apartment, so I spent Thursday morning frantically cleaning. On the plus side, I got caught up on cleaning that I've been putting off for awhile. Thursday evening I headed off to the parents' house for a couple of days. My aunt was here from New Jersey, so I had a nice visit with her and some lovely niece spoiling time. Saturday started with the ordination the new pastor at my home congregation. She asked me to be the assisting minister, which was really nice, but also a little odd considering I'd never met her until Thursday. So the ordination was lovely, and fun to be at one so soon after my own (which was also lovely, but definitely a blur). Soon after the service was over I got in the car and headed back home for a council retreat at SP's house. I got there late, but had a nice time. We played this game called Kubbs (I'm not sure of the spelling). The council president had her 2 kids there, and they talked us into playing. I'm still not sure of all of the rules, but it involves throwing sticks at blocks of wood. It's actually a lot more fun than it sounds. So, as soon as the BBQ was over I ran to the mall, bought a card and headed off to a 50th wedding anniversary for a couple in the congregation. They had a luau theme. So, one more social event, one more plate of food, and one very tired pastor. Yep, after 3 official events in one day I was ready for bed. Instead I came home and finished my truly mediocre sermon, then spent the entire night having dreams with the phrase "the kingdom of heaven is like..." running through them. Today was the typical 2 services and then me trying to recover from yesterday. Ah, the joys of being an introvert!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tattoo


So the weekend wasn't all musicals, we also went and got tattoos. We'd gotten 2 together many years ago, a third one later (me in TX, RAZS in MT) and decided we needed one more together. So off we went to be tattooed by a man named Cyrus. Cyrus didn't say much, except to comment that he doesn't think I'm demure. See? Even total strangers don't think I'm demure. Sigh. Anyhoodle, here's a picture of the newest addition. Please ignore how fat my foot looks, and the yellow marker left over from marking where the tattoo would go, and the chipped toenail polish, and the tan lines from my Keens, and how HAIRY my toes are.... Sheesh. Oh, and RAZS got a strawberry on her foot. Beatles reference. I don't have a picture, though.