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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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.