Monday, December 08, 2008

*blush*

imngrace has honored me with this award. Thank you, thank you! I love your blog, too! Although I haven't been a very good blogger or blogging buddy lately, I appreciate those of you who still check in on me every n0w and again.


Of course, as with every Bloggy Award, there are A Few Rules. They are:


Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.


  • Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.

  • Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.

  • Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

  • Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.


Several of you have already received this award, so I am awarding only those whom, I think, haven''t yet been so honored. So, without any further ado, I give this award to the following 5 blog friends:

Sarah because if I was ever skeptical about finding true friendship in the "virtual world," becoming friends with Sarah via the RevGals blogring has cured any skepticism I had. She is one of the most authentic and crazy-smart people I have ever known. (She is also a new mother. Her daughter was born just a few days ago!)

Revcrystalk (though she will always be HipChick to me!) because I resonate so much with what she writes. Sometimes I wonder of we were separated at birth or something! She is very honest and so funny!

Towanda I got interested in Towanda's blog because I noticed that she was then a student at my Alma mater, The Iliff School of Theology. I remain a reader because she challenges me to look beyond the end of my nose and notice those who are crying out for justice here and abroad. Her courage inspires me to truly live out the gospel. She also posts from funny cartoons from time to time!

Mrs. M because Diana's blog was one of the first I got up the nerve to leave a comment on when I was first dipping my toes into the blogging world. She writes about her sense of call with passion and humor. AND she sometimes posts recipes!

Mags Oh, Mags...she just rocks, plain and simple. She posts wonderful sermons and has such wisdom. She also sometimes posts funny YouTube clips...:)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving tomorrow.

As for me, I'll be in bed. I is a sicky. I got the last appointment available at my doctor's office cause I just couldn't shake this crud. I'm on antibiotics. $55 dollars worth of antibiotics! I hate being allergic to both sulfa and penicillin.

We'll probably have Thanksgiving dinner on Friday.

Have fun everyone!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why I've Been Away For Awhile

I have had a crazy few weeks with no time or energy to blog. A couple of days after being elected pastor by the church that sent spies, (I really need to think of a new blog name for them now, huh?) I flew out West to visit my parents, sister and brother-in-law, and most importantly, meet my baby nephew who was born on October 20. He is a sweet, sweet boy!

The day after I arrived, my mom, sister and I went to see "The Secret Life of Bees," which was actually pretty good, but could never, ever live up to the book. Afterwards, we went to my parents place so I could raid my mom's closet. We were hanging out in my mom' s room when, my dad rushed in and tearfully blurted out, "Your mom died."

This was my Mema. She was 88 years old living by herself and did not have any diagnosis of a life-threatening disease or condition. She just fell down dead. She didn't even have time to push her "I've fallen and I can't get up" button on her wrist.

She was a fiercely independent woman and, I think, that this was probably exactly the way she would have wanted it. She lived alone, but had daily contact with my aunt who lived down the street. She wasn't in pain or living in a nursing home, which she would have hated.

The funeral was this past Monday here in my city and I preached. She didn't have a pastor, so rather than have someone who didn't know her do it, I agreed. I'm glad I did. It was a gift to my Mema, my family and myself. There's a lot more to say about that, but I don't think I will. My Mema and I had a complicated relationship, but I loved and admired her, even when she held me at arm's length.

I promptly got a cold the next day and it's getting worse. This is a hard time of year to slow down.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

That's Exactly How I Feel, Too...

First of all, everything went well. I am the pastor-elect of (Important Reformer) Presbyterian Church by a vote of 120-something yeas to 4 nays. Not bad... I can live with that. I was told that those four "wouldn't vote for Jesus himself."

I didn't feel good at all in the pulpit, though. They have very bright spotlights, which blinded me and made me super hot. The light made the pulpit mic cast a big shadow over my manuscript, which made it hard to read. Also, I had underestimated the font size I would need, so basically, I preached from memory. It didn't feel good, but I got through it.

My family was great and so supportive, patiently shaking hands and telling people their names again and again and again. My son drew this picture when we got home and told me, "I felt like a handshaking machine today!" Yep.



Saturday, November 08, 2008

Give Me Oil In My Lamp...

Keep me burnin', burnin' burnin'...

Great camp song based on our parable this week. Although one verse that we used to sing is what I really need right now:

"Give me umption in my gumption, let me function, function, function..."

I am almost always done writing my sermon by this time Saturday. I am stuck... Help!

ETA: It's 10:15 pm and I'm as done as I'm gonna be tonight. It'll be okay. I'll tweak it some in the morning and then, I'll let the Spirit do what she will with it!

Sarah, I just now read your kind offer to listen to my sermon. I'm afraid it might be a little too late now- shoot. Thanks so much for offering. I may take you up on that some other time! I'm going to try to get a good night sleep now.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Five: Funny Papers

Presbyterian Gal says: After an exhausting election here in the states it's time for some spirit lifting! Join me with a nice cup of tea or coffee or cocoa and let's sit back and read the Funny Papers!
1. What was your favorite comic strip as a child?

I loved the Family Circus, especially when Billy would go on one of his "adventures" through the neighborhood!





2. Which comic strip today most consistently tickles your funny bone?
Bizarro.



3. Which Peanuts character is closest to being you?
I'd like to say Linus, but it's probably Lucy.







4. Some say that comic strips have replaced philosophy as a paying job, so to speak. Does this ring true with you?
Perhaps, in this "sound bite" culture. I don't know.

5. What do you think the appeal is for the really long running comic strips like Blondie, Family Circus, Dennis the Menace as some examples?


Oh, I could write about archetypes and timeless themes, but it's because they're funny and have become part of the American cultural landscape. I mean, without the Blondie strip, we wouldn't have the Dagwood sandwich!

Bonus question: Which discontinued comic strip would you like to see back in print?

Well, it's not discontinued, but I was furious when my local paper stopped printing Cathy- and right before her and Irving's wedding! ACK!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Getting Ready to Party!

My son is decorating our entire house with Obama...we have Obama forks, Obama napkins, Obama pepper shaker and...


I'm not sure if should be proud or disturbed! I *do* hope that we get to pop open that champagne tonight!
ETA: My 5 year old daughter just informed me that she likes, "Mr. McCain." So, my son made her a McCain napkin. We respect a variety of political views in our household!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Well, Better This Sunday Than Next....

It was bound to happen at some point. I suppose.

I was standing at the communion table with the bread in my hands- lovely, beautiful bread made from the special communion bread recipe of a dearly departed saint of this congregation. I was holding this bread up...and I forgot the words.

I forgot the words of institution, y'all! How many times have I done this?

I did collect myself, finally, after about five really long seconds. Long enough that it was pretty obvious I had forgotten the words.

*sigh*

Well, here's hoping I don't have a similar brain fart next Sunday!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm Finally Dishing....

I have wanted to post so many times in the past couple of weeks, but have been prevented by traveling, a visit from family and, mostly, fatigue. Also, I am just overwhelmed (mostly in a good way) by all that has happened and all that is ahead of me and my family.

But, I did promise....

That Tuesday afternoon, October 14, I was to preparing myself to meet the committee for dinner and some conversation. It was the second "date" and I had an inkling that an offer was forthcoming because certain people had dropped some pretty big hints. In thinking about it all, my heart began to beat fast and my breathing became shallow. I guess this may be what a panic attack feels like? I don't know...

Anyway, old "tapes" began to play in my head. I particularly heard the voice of my Head of Staff in my first call who had said things like, "Iris, you present well, but you don't wear well," and "I really wanted a colleague, but Iris needed a boss." I hadn't thought of these comments in quite some time, but there they were. Right when I was on the cusp of perhaps being offered the call I had been hoping and praying for, I was racked by self-doubt. Thank God for my pastor girlfriend here in my area and my beloved former colleague (with whom I worked after I left my first call who told me I wore very well, thank you very much.) They each gave me the needed pep talk, prayed with me and I was able to calm down enough to prepare my mind and heart and my hair, make-up and clothing for the interview.

The site for the interview was changed at the last minute because the committee member whose home we were going to be was ill. So, it ended up being held at another church in town, which was fine with me, as it was only 5 minutes from my house. We ate pasta and the best cookies I have ever eaten in my life. Seriously.

Then, we got to business. They had some prepared questions, which I noticed were very nuts and bolts, nitty-gritty kinds of questions, such as "What would your office hours be?" and "What day would you like to have as your day off?" This part didn't really last very long at all, maybe 15 minutes, when the committee chair turned to me and said, "Would you mind leaving us for a few minutes?" I had to pee really bad, so I didn't mind. Although, I was a quite curious as to what was happening. Well, they didn't have much to talk about apparently because the chair was waiting for me in the hallway outside of the bathroom with a big smile on her face. She whispered to me, "I am so happy!" (This is the same woman who over a year ago asked me, "You're going to apply, right?")

We walked back into the room and the whole committee was all grins as the chair said, "It is unanimous, we would like to extend the call to you to be our pastor." I told them that I was happy to accept and they all cheered! Comments started flying: "Wow, this is quite a process," and "This is such a good match, I can feel it," and (from one of the youth members), "You were my favorite from the beginning." It was exhilarating and humbling, all at the same time. They went on to say that I had had a "higher hill to climb" than the other candidates they considered because they wanted to make very sure that this was truly God's call and that they weren't just taking the easy route by calling the hometown girl. I would say that they and I both had cast rather wide nets in the last year in considering God's call, and I feel very good about that.

After the gushing was over, another of the committee members handed me a piece of paper with their offer for terms of call, otherwise known as the salary package. Friends, it exceeded my expectations. Wow, just wow.

This is not a done deal yet. I preach for the congregation on November 9 and then they get the opportunity to vote on whether or not I will, indeed, be their pastor. I am struggling with what I will preach. The lectionary passages are full of the "end times" that week and I need more of a "new beginnings" kind of message, I think! Any suggestions?

Thanks all, for your kind words of encouragement through all of this. I'll try not to let 2 weeks pass between postings again!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

They Offered...

I accepted...

Thanks be God.

I'm grateful for your prayers.

(More later, I promise. I'm tuckered.)

10/16/08: Sorry I haven't dished yet. I've had a sore froat and now I am trying to get us packed to go out of town for Fall Break. I feel happy, blessed and in need of some sleep and fun with the fam. I'll be back soon!

Quick Post on a Tuesday Morning

I have written the principal about these things and have been told that she has been counseled to change her behavior. I hope she does. Otherwise....

On a more positive note, I am having dinner with the Pastor Nominating Committee of the church who sent spies tonight! Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. Please keep doing it! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It Gets Worse...

The teacher I wrote about earlier is not my son's primary teacher, but his class goes over to her classroom for math and science instruction. I have spoken to some others parents the past few days and we are piecing together some comments that our children have said to us lately about this teacher.

In addition to the "devil's birthday comment," I have also learned that this teacher:
  • has shown an "Adam and Eve" video to both classes,
  • took a child aside and asked her, "Do you love Jesus?"
  • would not let my son write "boo" on a picture he was drawing of some pumpkins,
  • AND asked her class (not my son's) to journal about where they will go when they die.

Houston, we have a BIG problem here.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Say, What?!?!?

So, my second grader comes home yesterday asking me if Halloween is "the devil's birthday?" I say, "No, who told you that?" - thinking that one of his friends said that to him on the playground.

Nope...one of his teachers in our very PUBLIC elementary school told her students that they shouldn't celebrate Halloween because, if they do, they are helping the devil celebrate his birthday.

I told my son that if she ever says anything like that again, he has my permission to tell her she is being inappropriate for school.

Now, I'm trying to decide if I want to throw one devil of a fit or not.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sunday Musings

I have really been an uninspired blogger lately, but I am doing well and have lots on my plate right now. I'm basking in the afterglow of a truly wonderful World Communion service where we served six different kinds of bread, including banana bread- yum! If I had permission, I would post the lovely liturgy one of our elders wrote for the presentation of the breads. She told me I could stick it in my files and use it whenever I wanted, and I most definitely will!

Right now, I'm hanging out in my office as I wait for the church picnic to begin in a few hours. I live 45 minutes away, so it's silly to go home. I'll catch a nap, perhaps watch a movie on my computer from netflix, eat some of this bread that's sitting on my desk!

Things are moving along with the church that sent spies. I have a second interview with them a week from Tuesday, which will be a dinner at a pastor nominating committee member's home. They are checking my references and Committee on Ministry wants to meet with me to discuss whether this would be a good match or not. I don't have to truly be "examined" by COM because I'm already a member of this Presbytery. Also, they aren't making me do a neutral pulpit, for which I am grateful. Most of the members heard me preach a year ago when I did pulpit supply and those who didn't came as spies last July!

The COM moderator told me on Friday that I should know one way or another within two weeks. Whee! It'll be good to know- either to tie up loose ends here and prepare for this new ministry or to regroup and refocus.

How are you this fine World Communion Sunday?

ETA: Any of y'all going to the RevGal BE2? I haven't registered yet, but I'm planning on going...and I'll need a roomie! :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Got Tagged!

RevKim tagged me for this meme of six unspectacular things about me. Oh, how to choose?

1. I have ten fingers and ten toes.

2. My vote in the presidential election is not going to matter one iota because of where I live. But I'll vote anyway.

3. My favorite color is blue.

4. I would dearly love to live in a place where I didn't need to have a car.

5. I hate, I hate, I hate school fundraisers. Children selling cheap-assed crap because schools aren't funded adequately just plain sucks.

6. Autumn is my favorite season. I'll be glad when it hits here- it's still summer here at 86 degrees!

I'm going to break rule #4 below, I'm too tuckered to tag anyone right now. Play if you like!

Meme Terms and Conditions
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules on your blog.
3. List six unspectacular things about you.
4. Tag six other bloggers by linking to them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Super Self-Absorbed Post Below

No time to post in any substantive way...I just wanted to say "happy 2nd blogoversary" to myself.

Still can't believe I have a blog! I love all my blogging buddies!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tonight's the Night

No, I'm not talking about the creepy Rod Stewart song.

Tonight, I finally have my interview with the Pastor Nominating Committee that sent spies. Please pray for this ever-unfolding process of discernment.

ETA: It is 8:29 pm and I'm home now. Boy, oh, boy, did the interview go well! The hour and a half flew! I love that their very first question was, "So, how do you take care of yourself?"

Oooooh....I believe that this could be a very good match. We'll see...

No matter what, I greatly enjoyed my time with them.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tuesday Bullets

  • In the nearly two years I have been blogging, I've gained a new gauge for measuring how I'm feeling by the frequency of my postings. When I'm depressed and/or seriously stressed, I don't blog. It's just another way I have to withdraw and not receive the support and love I know is out there. Why do I do that?

  • Yesterday I began year two of spiritual director training- the Ignatius (or "Iggy") year. I'm coming back to the program after a year off because last year at this time, I thought I was going to do hospice chaplaincy for awhile. Stupid hospice.... I am excited about the discipline of the Iggy year and meeting again with my spiritual director.

  • Next Tuesday, I am finally going to have an actual interview with the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) that sent spies to hear me preach several weeks ago. I'll keep y'all posted.

  • Knowing that that particular church may not be my call, I have also been in contact with some other PNC's across the country. Two weeks ago I had a fantastic phone interview with a PNC. I got off the phone feeling energized, yet I have dragged my feet on sending them the sermon tape they requested. I still haven't. Part of it, I know, is that I really, really want the call here. Part of it is that I've been depressed, and also because hubby and I have been stressed out and fighting- a lot. I'm not sure if moving futher east (where this church is), when the support of our families is out west, would be the right thing to do right now. So, I have a "please take me out of consideration" e-mail ready to send, but I haven't yet.

  • Our Presbytery just received a favorable ruling on a case that has been on-going for 2 years concerning the property of a congregation that has left the denomination. I am grateful for the ruling, as I truly believe it to be the right and fair decision. My heart still breaks because there are no winners, only broken relationships and resources diverted from ministry. May God bring healing to both sides.

Monday, September 01, 2008

It Never Fails...

Why is that when I run into old boyfriends out of the blue, I always look like ass?

Just askin'...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I don't really have anything to say, but I wanted to get that creepy inflatable Jesus off the top of my page!
Today is my birthday, though I don't really feel like celebrating. I feel like sleeping. Actually, I really want to be away from it all, hiking in my favorite Wyoming mountain range- here:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Inflatable Jesus


I saw this out of the corner of my eye as we were driving home from church and I made my husband exit off the highway so we could go see it. He sighed and said, "You want to take a picture of it for your blog, don't you?" Hee!
At first I thought it was a Jesus "jupiter jump" for kids. That would have been just too much!
You can see the hot air balloon in the background; it has a giant cross on it. Turns out this church doesn't have a building, but it's got a hot air balloon! They use the balloon as an evangelism tool. They get it out and see who stops by.
Hey, we did.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First Day Back in the Office...

I had an odd experience today, my first day back in the office since I've been back from vacation. (Yesterday was a Presbytery Council meeting- snooze-a-rama...)

A woman in my congregation called this morning and asked me if she could come visit me "right now." When she arrived, she told me that her daughter, who lives in another state needed some parenting advice. She then took out her cell phone, which didn't phase me because this woman is always multi-tasking, checking text messages, etc. I didn't realize that she was calling someone until I heard her begin to talk to her daughter saying, "Hi, sweetie. Here, talk to Pastor Iris, she has some advice for you."

okey-dokey... I just looked at the phone that had been put in my hand for a second. I couldn't say, while she had her there on the phone waiting, "no, I won't talk to her," could I?

It was so awkward- "um....okay... Hi, I'm Iris, your mom's pastor....I've never met you, but can I give you advice about your child?"

Okay, it was a little better than that, but I was very uncomfortable with the situation. The call was short, as I am not a child psychologist and I did not know her! I encouraged her to seek out professional assistance in her area and I prayed with her before hanging up.

I didn't know what to say after the phone conversation was over. This woman was so happy that I had encouraged her daughter, so I just gave her the name of a church and pastor I knew in her daughter's town to pass along to her daughter, as she is not connected to any congregation.

I have offered pastoral care on many occasions to people I have barely met, especially as a chaplain. But, having this woman thrust her cell phone into my hand was just weird. And she was quick with that cell phone!

Has anybody else had anything like that happen?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wanted: Miracle Worker

Position Description:

clean and organize my home while I am away on vacation next week.




Qualifications:

  • have the ability to think exactly like me (in order to know what I would and would not throw out as well as to put things where I won't have to go searching for them later.)


  • be extremely non-judgemental.

One can dream...one can dream...



Sunday, July 20, 2008

Spies

I had visitors in worship today- two members from the Pastor Nominating Committee for this congregation.

I haven't yet had an actual interview with this PNC, but they have viewed a sermon DVD, have had me submit answers to supplemental questions and now have sent "spies" to hear me preach.

I'll take that as a good sign.

They gave me less than 24 hour notice that they were coming, though. I was a little freaked yesterday, but the sermon went well. Not a home run, but a base hit.

The hymn went over very well. I'm glad I chose to use it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Five: What's In a Name?

1. So how did you come up with your blogging name? And/or the name of your blog?
I have written about this here before, but you may not have memorized everything I've written ! :)
I got Iris from my childhood. You see, when I was about 3 years old, I used to tell people that my name was Iris. My parents don't know where I heard the name, but I guess I fell in love with it and wanted it to be my name. My mom tells me that I would only answer "Iris" when asked, "What is your name?" However, I would answer with my real name whenever I was asked "Who are you?" So, I knew who I was, but my name was Iris.

Growing Where I'm Planted is taken from what my mom used to say to me growing up when I was feeling restless, which was all. the. time. She would say, "Iris, you need to just grow where you're planted." I would get kind of irritated when she would say that to me because my parents transplanted me so many times when I was young (over twenty times before I was ten years old.) I always felt so unrooted and ungrounded. It wasn't until I sensed the call to be a pastor when I was sixteen years old that I felt finally rooted and grounded in a love that had given me purpose and wholeness for my life. Then, I began to believe that I could take my mom's advice to "grow where I'm planted."

I'm still restless as hell, though.

2.Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there?
No, I haven't really used any code names in my blog. I've toyed around with some blog names for my kids and husband, but nothing has stuck.

3. What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama, or sheer, crazy fun?
I love Amy's blog title of Stories From the Red Tent because I love that book and it makes me think of women truly being in deep, sisterly relationship with one another. I also love the sense of hospitality I get from Mrs. M.'s blog name of The Kitchen Door with the subtitle "is always open."
4.What three blogs are you devoted to? Other than the RevGalBlogPals blog of course!
Just three? Just can't do it. Well, look at my sidebar and you can see to whom I am devoted!

5. Who introduced you to the world of blogging and why?
If I hadn't read the article about RGBP in "The Christian Century" in September of 2006, I would not be blogger today. Or at least I seriously doubt it. At the time, I thought blogging was only for narcissists or people who like to argue! I didn't realize that it could also be a wonderful way to build friendships and receive and give support. I had been craving this kind of community for a long time, but every time I would google "women pastors," I would come up with sites about pastors' wives or sites arguing against women pastors. I am pretty sure I know who wrote that piece for the CC and I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart.

Bonus question: Have you ever met any of your blogging friends? Where are some of the places you've met these fun folks?
I have met Linda from Against a Brick Wall on a few occasions. She is a fantastic, crazy-smart woman! I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Towanda last year when I was traveling. Towanda just graduated from the same seminary I did. My husband's family is in the area, so when we were visiting, I took Towanda out for lunch at what was my favorite Chinese restaurant when I was in seminary. Thankfully, it was still good!
Since so many do a "feet" picture for blogger meet-ups, we decided to so a "hands" picture in my sister-in-law's backyard!




Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's Great to Have Files!

I took a wonderful class on parables my third year of seminary. My final project for the class was on this week's lectionary Gospel reading, Matthew 13:24-30, the parable of the weeds among the wheat. I had forgotten that I had even written this paper, funny how that happens! I came across my file on this project and it has helped me quite a bit as I prepare to preach this week.

The most delightful discovery in this file was to find a hymn text I had written as part of the project. It is to the tune of "Gather Us In," which is in the Catholic hymnal. I'm a little nervous about it, but I have decided to use it in worship.

Oh, and looking at the first line of the text, I guess I've had the name for my blog in my subconsciousness for a long time!


Inspired by the Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat
Matthew 13:24-30
1. Here in the field, we grow where we're planted.
Nourished by sunshine, soil and rain.
Planted with care, our lives have been granted,
Food for the many, the earth to sustain.
Grow in God's care, our roots will grow deeper.
Grow in God's care, our plants will grow tall.
We're not alone; we grow strong together.
Yielding abundantly for one and all.
2. We have been sown as good seed to prosper,
Growing together to serve in God's name.
Yet all around are weeds in our number,
sown by an enemy, dark night he came.
It's not for us to weed out the other,
Not to employ the hoe and the scythe.
We have been called to love one another,
Extend to others the hope of new life.
3. Hopes may be dashed; our stalks may be broken,
Loneliness, sadness, sorrow and shame.
Here in the field, life words should be spoken.
Tending the field is the Farmer's domain.
Grow in God's care, from near to the farthest.
Grow in God's care, by the truth of the Word.
We know not the time, so wait for the harvest.
We shall be gathered to dwell with the Lord.

ETA: blogger will not let me put spaces between the verses. Sorry if it's hard to read. grrrrr.....



Monday, July 14, 2008

New Gal in the Blogging Neighborhood

I have a friend who is just now sticking her cyber toe into the blogging waters! Since you need to have been blogging for at least three months to be admitted into the revgal ring, I thought I'd introduce her to my blogging buddies to get her started! (Man, I'm glad that rule wasn't in place yet when I joined. I'm certain that it would have discouraged me from beginning to blog, but I understand that several new bloggers joined about the same time I did and then petered out.)

She is blogging under the pseudonym of soonerpastor. Her name reflects where she comes from, not where she currently is serving. She's a lovely young woman, currently serving in her first ordained call and, just like I was nearly two years ago, is craving the supportive community that we enjoy.

Would you please help me welcome soonerpastor to the blogosphere?

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Big Read

I got this over at Alex's place. This is from something called 'The Big Read', from the NEA came up with a list of their top 100 books and they estimate that the average adult has only read 6 of these books. I will highlight the ones I've read. Cut and paste into your blog and let us know which you've read.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks1
8 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I've read 43 of these- not bad. I'm a little sheepish about a few of them that I haven't read, but I just haven't been able to get beyond chapter one of several of them, including Moby Dick and Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Also, I don't think that Mitch Albom book belongs in this company of great books, but that's just me.

Well, looks like I've got some reading to do. Happy 4th of July everyone!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Getting Into the Boat

Yesterday doubt and fear was foremost in my mind as I considered what is ahead for the PC(USA.) Much of this fear is coming from a feeling of being very exposed. When I was still serving in a More Light congregation as an Associate, it was a lot easier to trust that when change was on the way there would be a strong support system in place as we navigated these changes together.

Now, I am serving as an interim in a rural congregation which, like many congregations, is divided theologically and politically. I had to throw out yesterday morning's lesson in my adult class because all they wanted to talk about was what happened at G.A.. This turned into a heated debate, which I had to moderate. I am sure that the same thing happened in church school classess all over the denomination.

I am also feeling exposed as the Moderator of our Presbytery's Committee on Preparation for Ministry. By and large, I do not have a friendly committee to LGBT folks. So, it will be interesting as we implement G.A.'s direction to not lift up G-6.106b as a "superstandard." Thankfully, G.A.'s actions give me a firm place on which to stand.

As I have been praying and thinking today, the words of our newly elected Stated Clerk, Gradye Parsons, have been ringing in my ears: "Get in the boat. Go across the lake. There will be a storm. You will not die."

So, I'm in the boat. Really, I am. The Spirit is blowing!

Thank you, Jesus.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rambling Thoughts After General Assembly

I am filled with an equal measure of excitement and apprehension following the actions of the General Assembly of the PC(USA.) Things are moving and shaking much, much sooner than I had anticipated it would in regard to justice and equality in ordination standards and I believe that the one doing the moving and the shaking is none other than the Holy Spirit. Still, I am anxious as to what is ahead of us as a denomination and do not feel like it is time to celebrate.

Part of the blame for my hesitancy I place squarely on the Peace, Unity and Purity (PUP) Task Force, those scoundrels who taught me too well by their Godly example of how to be in community with both those who agree and those who disagree with me. Through their example and through their Spirit-filled report, my heart was changed toward those who disagree with me, particularly on questions of ordination. I was especially convicted in their discussion on allowing that those who disagree with me have come to their places of understanding in as earnest and faithful way as I have.

This is difficult for me, being one whose mind and heart has changed dramatically in the last twelve or so years. I catch myself at times being incredulous that everyone can't see what is so clear to me now. This is, of course, an arrogant and sinful attitude and exactly what the PUP report was asking the Church to work on together in order to move beyond our "positions" and see one another as sisters and brothers in Christ.

So, I am feeling torn between cautious optimism that we may soon rectify what I believe to be a grave injustice to our LGBT brothers and sisters and really and truly feeling the pain of those who believe that the church (small "c") is moving away from them.

Is it anathema to say that I wonder if this is the right time? Are we doing more harm than good right now? I know, it is easy for me to ask such questions because my ordination has never been called into question. I also know that I have a tendency to want to avoid pain and, man, I think we're in for a painful year in the PC(USA.)

I know what my vote is going to be when it is time for my Presbytery to vote on this issue: "Yes, yes, a million times, yes! Take that language out of our Book of Order!" But I don't know that my heart will be rejoicing when I do so.

May the Spirit lead us.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Woot! Woot!


I am one happy Presbyterian right now! Bruce Reyes-Chow, pastor of Mission Bay Community Church in San Francisco was elected tonight as Moderator of General Assembly!

Yes, I have been watching the live streaming of G.A. online. I'm officially a geek!

I am encouraged by this choice and pray for him in his ministry in this role for the next two years.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Word Association Friday Five

Singing Owl says: I am feeling like playing hooky, and I'm putting off sermon prep till tomorrow. It is a beautiful, sunny day at my place. So come on outside and let's play a summer Friday Five!This post is loosely based on previous "wordy" Friday Fives from Reverend Mother and Songbird. I liked the results, and so we are doing another word association . Theirs were based on words from a lectionary text. Mine comes from the Lovin' Spoonful song, "Summer in the City."Think summer......are you there?

Below you will find five words or phrases. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem, a memory, a recipe, or a story. You get the idea:

My answers are kind of boring, but I wrote the first thing that came into my head!

1. rooftop: reindeer- I guess I'm ready for winter!

2. gritty: nitty gritty

3. hot town (yeah, I know, it's two words): "Summer in the City" Was there another answer?

4. night: Night life- of which I've had precious little of in recent years!

5. dance: my daughter- who dances around everywhere!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

This Song Does Not Reflect My Feelings For Any of You...

My husbanad and I went to see Aimee Mann in concert the other night, which was fantastic. She is such a wonderful alternative to the overproduced crap that is out there. We had a great time, especially considering we hadn't been out for a long time.

This guy, David Ford, was her opening act. He's a singer-songwriter from England who sings mostly angsty (is that a word?) and dark songs. We had to laugh when about four songs into his set he announced, "Now, I'm going to sing a sad song."

The attached video is the song he opened with and, well, I've never been told to "go to hell" so exquisitely.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I've Been Tagged

Singing Owl tagged me for this meme, so here goes...

Rules: The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions/statements about himself or herself. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Ten years ago:
In June 1998, I was living in a small town in Missouri working as an Associate Pastor in a church of another denomination. One does not need an MDiv in this particular denomination. I didn't yet know that I was a Presbyterian at heart, but I did know that I no longer belonged in that denomination, as I had decided not to seek ordination by that body. By this time, I had already submitted my resignation to the church and was looking ahead to my August wedding, moving to Denver and beginning seminary that Fall. From there everything changed. Thank God!

Five things on today's "to do" list:
bulletin
laundry
sit and do nothing for at least 10 minutes!
sign grant applications on behalf of some inquirers and candidates
research c-pap masks- I am desperate for one that I will actually use!

Things I'd do if I was a billionaire:
pay off debt!
buy my Mom a house
set up an educational fund for my kids
pay-off my Presbytery's court costs (property issues from a large church leaving the denomination- ugh!)
do all I could to bring an end to human trafficking
support mission

Three bad habits:
chewing my hair
procrastination
throwing clothes on the floor

Five places I've lived:
Wyoming
Indiana
Texas
New Mexico
Budapest, Hungary

Five jobs I've had:
birthday party clown (not anywhere near as fun as it might sound)
car-hop
waitress
English teacher
physical therapist's assistant

Let's see, I tag PK, grace-thing, RevKim, Lutheran Mom, and Mags

Friday, June 06, 2008

A Perfect Friday

We did not move from this swimming hole for over three hours- and we had the time of our lives!
It had been so long since I had last lost track of time.
What a beautiful day!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Primary Over! (Projected)


Obama said tonight, "What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon..."


Yes, we can? Oh, I hope and pray so.

Monday, June 02, 2008

On the eve of the final primaries...

I don't usually write about politics here, but I've got to tell ya, I am one weary Democrat. I know I'm not the only one. I was feeling quite hopeful and full of anticipation back in, say, February. Now, I just want it over already and pray, pray, pray that tomorrow will be the day when we can finally say that we have an official nominee.

I listen to a lot of NPR as I drive the 44 miles each way from my house to my church. Of course, today was full of talk about this past weekend with the rules committee and what tomorrow's primaries will hold. On the Diane Rehm show this morning, they spent quite a bit of time talking about the bitter disappointment of many Clinton supporters, especially "feminist" and "progressive" women, as it becomes more and more apparent that she will not be the nominee.

It's interesting to me how little attention has been paid to women who would also self-identify as "feminist" and "progressive" who are Obama supporters. It's also interesting to me how many RevGals I've noticed who are Obama supporters. I am one of them.

It seems to me that all we've seen in the media about female supporters of Obama is "Obama Girl." As much as I get a kick out of Obama Girl, I do not "have a crush on Obama." I actually think he's kind of dorky looking, but I believe that he's our best chance right now to have someone in the White House who in concerned about peacemaking and justice for all people.

*End of political commentary*

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Two Things Meme

RevHipChick tagged me for this meme tonight.

Two names you go by:
1) Mama
2) another name, similar to "Iris" (but I'm not telling here, at least not yet...)

Two things you are wearing right now:
1) a really ugly, but oh so comfortable, sundress
2) um, underwear

Two of your favorite things:
1) the laughter of my children
2) chocolate

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1) to know which 300 words to shave from my sermon
2) to lose about 50 pounds

Two favorite pets you have or had:
Shadow and Emmy- my kitty cats.

Two people you hope will fill this out:
anyone who wants to!

Two things you did last night:
1) I saw the "Sex and the City" movie last night. It was very satisfying for this fan!
2) I put drano down my bathtub drain

Two things you ate last night:
1) vegetarian BLT (made with smoked tempeh)
2) chocolate covered raisins at the movie

Two people you last talked to:
1) my sister
2) my husband

Two things you are doing tomorrow:
2) preaching
3) sleeping

2 farthest trips taken in the last 5 years:
1) to Virginia in 2004 ( was extended a call to a church out there. I wanted to go, but hubby didn't.)
2) to St. Simon's Island, GA- also in 2004 for the Princeton Youth Ministry Forum. Very fun!

Two favorite holidays:
1) Holy Week- hands down, my favorite time of the year.
2) Thanksgiving

Two favorite beverages:
1) good ol' H2O
2) Cabernet

Thanks, HipChick!

Friday, May 30, 2008

I'm Here

I just haven't felt like blogging lately. I'm fine, but have been feeling a bit like a turtle who wants to hide in her shell for a little while.

I realized recently that I had been white-knuckling my way through life for several months and was feeling very depressed. So, for a couple of weeks I took some down time. With the blessing of my General Presbyter and the personnel committee, I only preached and went to essential meetings.

It was a good thing. I made a list of things that I needed to do for myself that I had been putting off. I replaced the mask for my c-pap machine (for sleep apnea) that broke probably 4 months ago. I visited my doctor who did some blood work- all fine. Spent time with my family. I slept.

I am feeling much better and have dozens of blog posts that I'd like to write. Maybe I'll write a few of them.

I do want to share a few things for which I am thankful today...



  • our little, cozy home in a great neighborhood

  • that my husband and I are making more of an effort to spend time together- just us

  • the colleagues in my Presbytery who have wrapped me in loving care

  • my son's successful completion of first grade

  • belly laughs with my little girl

  • blogging buddies whose writing inspire, challenge and take me out of my life for awhile.

  • oh, and my new porch swing I got for Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Done

With some urging from More Cows, I decided to call the PNC chair. I'm so glad that I did because now I don't have to wonder anymore and I can finally feel free to explore other calls.

This is what he told me:
The PNC fell in love with both me and the other candidate and just couldn't make up their minds between us. Then, a pastor in their Presbytery decided to throw his hat into the ring and, well, it is likely that they are going to extend the call to him.

My intuition tells me that there is more to the story, but that's not my concern, is it?

This night before Pentecost, I pray God's blessing on that call and that their ministry together will flourish.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Finally, Something

E-mail I received tonight from PNC chair:

Dear Pastor Iris,

I am sorry that I have not communicated to you lately – we have been very busy in our discernment process.

We have not yet offered a call, so I would ask a little more patience. We expect to finish this very shortly.

After nearly a month of no contact, I'm not sure what to make of this.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Just in case you were wondering...

...I've still heard nothing from the Pastor Nominating Committee.

I haven't called them, either. It's kind of a game now to see how long they intend to keep me dangling. I really don't mean to sound bitter, because I'm not. Truly, I'm not. I'm more bemused and bewildered at their behavior.

And I hardly think about it anymore, especially the past few days since our childcare worker's trial.

If it is possible to be seriously bummed at same time as having peace-- that's me right now.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Verdict In

I guess the jury didn't need much time to convict.

Verdict: 1st degree murder

Sentence: life in prison without parole.

Iris household: heartbroken

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Trial Began

The trial for our former childcare worker began today. For those of you who weren't readers last year, you can read about it here and here.

The mother of the child who died testified today, which I'm sure was just excruciating for her. I don't think that I will be going to observe; I just don't think I could handle it.

Please pray for all involved.

Monday, April 21, 2008

And Now...

...still nothing to report.

Friday, April 18, 2008

And.....................Nothin'

It's almost 9:30 pm on Friday night and still I've heard zilch. At this point, I'm playing all kinds of scenarios out in my mind, such as:

1) They are taking a week for discernment before they extend a call.

2) They've already extended the call to the other person, but she (I know it's a she) is needing some time to decide. So, they haven't called me ,"just in case."

3) They've already extended the call to the other person and they forgot to include the kiss-off letter with the check reimbursing me for my airfare.

4) They're big jerks who have no intention of calling.

They didn't seem like big jerks to me, so #4 is out. #1 could be the case, but wouldn't they have at least dropped a quick line to both of us to that effect? Maybe, maybe not. My hunch is that #2 is what's happening. I know, I know....I can't know for sure and this speculating is only serving to drive me out of my mind. There is lots going on that I'll never ever know about and God is in control.

However, I do need to think about how I would respond should they call me in the coming days offering me the position. Do I ask if I was their second choice? Could I be okay with that if that were the case?

Honestly, I think that I am about over it all. I never have had that sense of confirmation that God is indeed calling me there. I longed for it. I prayed for it. I wanted to fall completely head over heels in love and I wanted them to fall head over heels in love with me. I really liked the PNC and I really like the location, but I just don't have the sense of joy that I need to have in considering a call.

Friends, this isn't my call, is it?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm Still Waaaaaaaiiiting!!!

So, I'm guessing that they extended the call to the other person because the church website is announcing a congregational meeting. I suppose there are lots of reasons for a congregational meeting, but I wonder...

I just wish they'd call so I'd know.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Where It Is Right Now

I hate waiting.

However, I don't know what I'd say if they did call tonight.

I'm one confused puppy.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

and now for your moment of immaturity.....

This morning's prelude:

"Air for the G String"

tee-hee

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Well, Crap....

I just accidentally deleted my blog roll! I still love you all!

ETA: I just spent about an hour recovering my blogroll, but for some reason only a few of you actually made it onto the roll. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. It doesn't seem *that* hard!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Prayin' and Thinkin'...

I'm pressed for time today, but I wanted to let you know how it went...

I had a very good weekend. Everything went very well, preaching included. It was a fantastically beautiful weekend with lots of sunshine! The weather has been so gloomy here lately, so I appreciated the sun on my face.

I didn't end up meeting with the Committee on Ministry because they don't want to meet until they have extended a call and it has been accepted. This is weird to me because are they really going to say no after a call has been accepted? Whatever.

I wish I could say that I had a great moment of clarity while I was there, but I didn't. I could see myself living there and pastoring this congregation, but I don't have the feeling of "this is it." It could be that I am feeling guarded because I know that they are interviewing another person this weekend.

It does help that today my husband has been saying that he thinks he would like to go. He's been pretty tight-lipped about it all until now. I want him to feel quite sure about it, especially since we'd be moving to where his parents live.

Oh, on Saturday night we had dinner at a committee member's apartment- the same apartment complex as my in-laws! In fact, this committee member serves on the condo board with my father-in-law. I think she thought I was strange for not telling my in-laws I was in town, but oh well. My husband was very adamant that I not.

So, prayers for clarity and discernment for all concerned would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Getting Ready to Go

I'm here. I have so much to write about, but haven't been able to do it. I've sat at this computer so many times in the past weeks, but couldn't get myself to type anything. This is my pattern in the "real" world, as well; when I feel overwhelmed I shut down and and don't communicate with my friends and family. Not good, I know.

In a nutshell, I feel simultaneously very blessed and very confused and angry. The confused and angry part comes from decisions that my dad is making right now. I don't have time to write about that right now, but I will one of these days. Just please pray for him and my mom.

The blessed part is that tomorrow I fly west to meet with a Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) to be interviewed and do a neutral pulpit. For HipChick, and other non-Presbyterians, a neutral pulpit is an opportunity for the PNC to hear a candidate preach and lead worship. This is done at another church in the area because pastor candidates aren't introduced to the congregation until a call as been extended and accepted.

I will also be interviewed by an exam team from this Presbytery's Committee on Ministry. I'm actually most nervous about this because this Presbytery is, by and large, very conservative. This Presbytery is a neighboring Presbytery to where I went to seminary and does not allow its inquirers and candidates to attend my seminary. So, I am little worried that they will be prejudiced against me from the get-go and that I will be in for one doozy of an interview with the COM. So far, I have had very laid back COM interviews. Have any of you had difficulty with this part?

I'm not sure if I mentioned that this city out west is where my in-laws live. We haven't told them anything, not even that I'm in conversation with this church. The reason is that they would be devastated if it didn't work out and if I were the one to pull the plug, I'm not sure my mother-in-law would ever forgive me. So, I really hope I don't accidentally run into them! It's possible, as the church is just down the hill from their condo.

Okay, must finish sermon. I decided to preach lectionary instead of pulling out one of Iris' greatest hits, but now I'm beginning to wish I hadn't. Oh, well....

Peace to you all...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

Quick Check-In

Going to interim training the week before Holy Week has made me way behind with no time to blog....rats!

But quickly...

  • interim training was good, but very intense. At times I felt like it would have been more efficient to have just sliced off the tops of our heads, ala Sylar from Heroes, and just dump the information into our brains! And plenary session after plenary session was too much for this introvert to take.
  • I met some fantastic people, including my great roomie and a woman who is serving on the Presbytery level for the first time. (*waves* at any new friends who may be lurking!) I sat at a table with a woman whose children's books on worship I have used extensively (think church mice.) So cool!
  • Interim training has made me realize just how much I don't want to be an interim right now and that I truly long to be in a called position.
  • I have been invited to fly out to a Western state in a few weeks to meet with a Pastor Nominating Committee and do a neutral pulpit.
  • We still haven't made any changes to the dining room walls.

I promise I will expound upon all this after we get on the other side of Easter. Have a blessed and meaningful Good Friday.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

"Dammit, Jim, I'm a Pastor, Not an Interior Decorator!"


Well, our home is almost completely restored from the damage from the ice storm; we've just got to have the gutters replaced in the back, yet. As sick as I was of having a hole in my dining room, I'm almost as sick of contractors and sub-contractors!


Although we only had a small amount of damage to the walls in the dining room, it necessitated getting the entire room re-wallpapered. Decorating is soooo not my forte, but I think I picked out a pretty paper for above the chair railing. Now, what I chose for below the chair railing.... Well, just look for yourself...


Gag me! I thought the green would match the green in the leaves above...and so did the woman in the wallpaper store. But, um, no, it certainly does not. I didn't realize that it would look so sea foam greeny up on the wall.
I definitely want to change this. Of course, insurance won't pay to have it changed just because I'm bad with color. The contractor working on the ceiling suggested that we paint a tan stain over it so that just the dark green would show through. It might be worth a shot.
*sigh*
Please forgive the lame-o Star Trek reference in the title!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Glad That's Behind Me...

Thank God Tuesday is behind me and now I can concentrate on other things in my life that have had to be back burnered, like Holy Week services and the two books I need to read before I go to interim pastor training on Monday.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers on Tuesday. It was rough. I was up front fielding questions for close to 40 minutes, I think. Well, it felt like 2 hours. I explained, I think fairly well, the reasoning behind our committee's decision to make our motion. I 'm not sure I didn't cross the line from explaining to "piling on," but I did the best I could.

I was prepared for some to speak against our motion. Heck, if I hadn't been serving on this committee and didn't know what I know, I'm sure I would have been speaking against it, too. So, I was ready for that. I also thought that I was prepared for the glares and head-shaking I would be subject to while I gave the report. However, I wasn't really ready. I tell you, this experience was ten times worse than all the times I have been examined on the floor of Presbytery put together!

But I got through it and our motion carried 2 to 1, which was good affirmation that the Presbytery trusts the committee. I hope and pray that people understood that we took no joy in what we did, but it was absolutely necessary and, truly, the most faithful and loving we could do for all involved.

That evening and the day after, I received numerous phone calls and e-mails from folks saying that I handled this painful and sensitive issue well. I haven't heard from those who disagree, but I'm sure I will eventually.

I may not be posting for about a week because I am heading to Austin for interim pastor training on Monday. Anyone else going to be there as well? I could be back to preach the next Sunday, but I decided I am going to take the whole week off. I really need it.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Prayers, Please....

Presbytery meeting is tomorrow. I would appreciate your prayers for the report that I have to make.

Thanks.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Once - Falling Slowly (Oscar Winner 2008 )

I was so excited to see this song win last night at the Oscar's! If you haven't seen the movie "Once," put it on your Netflix queue. You won't be sorry- it's such a sweet movie with some truly wonderful music.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Breathe, Breathe...

Well, the meeting was every bit as adversarial as I had feared, but it is over. Thanks be to God.

I'm still, three hours later, feeling wound up and a bit nauseated. We still have to report our action to Presbytery, which is going to loads of fun, I'm sure.

Most of all, I'm saddened by the need for it all.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm Not Looking Forward to It...

I wrote, rather cryptically, here a few weeks ago about an issue that was making me lose sleep. Well, it is all coming to a head tomorrow morning at our Presbytery committee meeting that I moderate. Everyone involved could use prayer.

Although I know that what we need to do is going to be incredibly painful, I know that it is absolutely necessary. We would be unfaithful to our committee's purpose if we didn't act and, worse, the larger church would have to deal with issues later if we let things slide.

Crap.

Why did I agree to moderate this committee anyway?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Duped...

I'm feeling like a real ding-dong...

I guess I'm just too much of a good girl who follows directions because when they said Pre-Kindergarten registration at the local elementary school began at 8:30 am, I believed them. So, I arrived at 8:15 am, thinking I would stand in line, only to find out that other parents had come much earlier and had been allowed to register. My daughter is sixth on the waiting list. I guess we'll be paying for another year of pre-school.

And last night while watching the news, I found out that I had been duped into signing a petition to get an anti-affirmative action initiative on the ballot. I know I should have asked for more information, but I was in a hurry to get to the grocery store when the woman approached me in the parking lot. She said that it for a civil rights initiative. Apparently there are a lot of people who, like me, were misinformed so, there's an investigation. Perhaps it won't even get on the ballot now.

Oh, brother....

So far, no ice! Yay!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oh, Please God, No.....

They are forecasting another ice storm tonight. Oh, I hope that it bypasses us because our city hasn't yet recovered from December's storm. This was our back yard back then. I really don't want to wake up to this again...



Although we have a new roof, we're still living with a hole on our ceiling that we've covered with cardboard until the restoration company can come fix it. They've got lots of people to deal with, so we have to be patient.

There are so many, especially lower-income folks who were given the middle finger from FEMA, who have had to deal with so much more. They haven't yet even come close to cleaning up all the debris. We just can't take another storm.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A President's Day Meme

This is from Songbird. How better to honor President's Day?
Herewith, five Presidential questions.

1. Can you name the American Presidents we are honoring? Bonus: Any idea when their real birthdays are? (Don't look it up.)
Yes, Washington and Lincoln. I can't think of Washington's actual birthday, but Lincoln's was February 12- same as my Daddy.

2. Why do you suppose car sales are an important aspect of our President's Day observations in the U.S.? (Feel free to be whimsical.)
Well, it certainly would be one way of "honoring" our current President, by hanging around car salesmen and buying a Hummer.

3. Have you ever been President of a club or organization? How did that feel?
Yep. When I was a teenager, usually it was very exciting to be elected and then would kind of suck to have to do the job. Gratefully, since then I have not been President of anything.

4. If you could have dinner with any President of the United States no longer living, who would it be? Any particular questions you would like to ask? (Please feel free to substitute a nationally appropriate elected leader, such as a Prime Minister.)
hmmmmmm..... I guess Harry Truman because I would like to ask him about what he was thinking and feeling as he made the decision to drop the bombs on Japan.

5. On a more serious note, what are the qualities you hope for in our next President? (As above for those who live in other countries.)
I hope the President is honest, a peacemaker, inspires with hope rather than with fear, is able to mend ties abroad, but, above all, has wisdom. Also, I hope the President cares more about the country than getting re-elected.

ETA: Is anyone else having problems with the "spellcheck" and "add image" buttons on blogger?

A Stream of Consciousness Post

The main reason, besides sickness, that I haven't been blogging much lately is that I have been self-censoring a lot. All of the sudden, I am finding myself intimidated and I don't know why.

I need to get over it, so for just this one post, I am going to make myself not self-censor, and just write..... the good, the bad and the indifferent.....I think bullets will help me not worry about complete sentences....

  • If the people in my church were any tighter with money, they could shove coal up their butts and poop diamonds. They are sitting on a half million dollars in a foundation, nearly $160,000 in CD's (roll-overs from past years' budget surpluses), and healthy pledges for a church this size. However, you ask them about spending any of that money and they get these panic stricken looks on their faces. When I have asked them to dream about how God might be calling them to use these blessings, they talk about pew cushions. It's frustrating. I feel like I need to preach Luke 12, the parable of the man who builds up his barns.
  • We need a new mattress, so after church today I went to look at some mattresses at a store close to my house. I laid on several beds and there were a couple that I liked a lot. So, I asked the salesman for a piece of paper and a pen to write down the names and prices of certain mattresses. And he said to me, "No, you have to bring your own pen." I thought he just had a dry sense of humor and waited for a moment for him to grin and say, "Just kidding," but he didn't. I said, "I just want to write down some prices...." He interrupted my by saying, "Well, bring your husband by...." And I interrupted him and said, "I don't think so." I felt like I was in the Twighlight Zone. I guess he didn't want my money.
  • My husband and I are going on ten years of marriage. It's hard right now. Sometimes I just want to run away. How not to become a statistic?
  • Our roof has been replaced from the ice storm damage, but we're still waiting for the interior work to be completed in our dining room. Right now, we have some very pretty wallpaper that was here when we moved in. It has to be replaced because they had to cut out part of the wall becasue of water damage. Of course, the wallpaper we have now is out of print. I've never been a wallpaper person, so I'm thinking about having them paint instead. But then we have to pick out colors. I don't want to make decisions right now.
  • We are finally mostly healthy, thank God. Thanks for your well-wishes.
  • My kids are playing together peacefully right now, thank God. I think that they have been picking up that I'm not very happy right now. I have to protect them from my dark mood because it's not their fault.

Okay, I'm reading back what I've written and I am resisting the urge to press "delete" like I have a dozen times over the past month or so. Forgive the messiness of this post, but I fear if I don't post something real right now, I might not again for a long time.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

We're Spending Valentine's Day in Bed....

...but not in a good way. We're sick.

There's a nasty virus going around and it decided to visit us. My husband's been flat on his back for three days and I'm about as bad.

Hope your day is better!

Monday, February 11, 2008

John McCain - Yes we can music video response

The Barack Obama "Yes We Can" video made me cry. So did this one, because it's funny and, sadly, true to what McCain believes about this war.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Welcome Home, Wyld!!!

Join me in welcoming Wyldth1ng home from Iraq! You can find his blog here.

Wyld, thank you for service and we're glad you are HOME!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Reconnecting

Time is so fleeting and it is trite, but true to say, "you blink and a year has gone by."

Yeah, a year-- or seven. Has it really been seven years since I graduated from seminary ? And had it really been over three years since I had heard the voice of my good, good friend from seminary, A.? Oh, how good it was to speak to her tonight.

I've hit a blogging dry patch, it seems. I suppose it is okay for me to have a *few* unreflected moments, right?

However, I really want to maintain connection with all of my blogging buddies, even when I don't much feel like writing anything. So, even if all I post are the ABC's, I'll keep at it because I don't want to have to "reconnect" with you all later down the road.

ETA: I just noticed that someone found my blog by googling "Yuck Amway." That's the best one yet! They were directed to a story I told in a Friday Five awhile back about a guy asking me out and then taking me to an Amway party.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I Don't Usually Have Such Freaky Crytpic Dreams...

In that place between wakefulness and sleep this morning, I heard, or more like, felt, a voice that said,

"I am going to say a word. The first two letters in that word is my message to you. That word is 'God.'"

I woke up with that ringing in my ears and, because I'm not so with it in the morning, it took me a few seconds to figure out that the first two letters in God is G-O. Was the message, "go?"

Although I always dream very vividly, I am not accustomed to experiences such as this and it's got me a little weirded out.

The last time I felt like this was almost exactly three years ago. I was at the Princeton Youth Ministry Forum, which was held on St. Simons Island, Georgia. (fantastic place, btw.) I was in a seminar led by Ron Foster, co-author of this incredible youth ministry resource. Ron gave each of us a smooth black stone and asked us to go outside, commune with God, and seek a message from God.

At that time, I was very excited about a prospective call "back east" and was looking forward to interviewing and doing a neutral pulpit a couple of weeks from then. So, I was surprised that while sitting and looking at the ocean, the word "stay" kept coming into my mind.

When it was time to go back inside, Ron passed out metallic markers to write upon the stone words or pictures which described what God was saying to us. I wrote "stay," puzzled a little over that message, but not for very long. I tossed the stone into a front pocket of my suitcase and forgot about it.

Fast-forward a few weeks later- I had been extended the call from the church and wanted so very badly to accept it, but my husband wasn't feeling it. The day I made the phone call to reluctantly turn down the call, I was emptying out my suitcase and found the stone. Although it gave me no comfort at the time, I put it on my kitchen windowsill, where it still sits.

Now, this morning I have this strange experience with hearing the word "God" and being told, in my dreaming, that the first two letters is the message. I haven't done a lot of dream work in spiritual direction or therapy, but this would be very interesting to examine.

hmmmmmm......... maybe it was something I ate?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Fun Around the Font

My husband and children, who still regularly worship at the church in the city, came to worship with me this morning. It was nice for me to see them there in the congregation; they brought a certain energy with them. Children do that, especially in a congregation with no children.

We were about to begin the reaffirmation of baptism when I asked my kids if they would like to come to the front to sit. I expected them to sit in the first row, but instead they came right up to the font and began to put their hands in the water. This surprised me quite a bit, but I let them run the water through their fingers, all the while with these serious, reverent looks on their faces.

I hadn't planned to, but I then began telling them about their baptisms and how I felt on those special days when J. and I made promises and handed them over to the pastor to be baptized. After about 3 or 4 minutes, I realized that I was completely ignoring the congregation and I looked up and, thankfully, saw approving faces.

It was so much better of an introduction to the reaffirmation than I had planned- thanks to my bold and curious children!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I Wish I Could Write a Happy Post

Over the past month or so, I found that I was becoming increasingly more negative and not very much fun to be around. I have had a lot that I have wanted to blog about, but I have been in a place of not really knowing how to express myself. Also, I promised myself that I wouldn't post until I had something positive to blog. I didn't want my place to be one big pity party that no one wanted to come to.

However, now I'm breaking my restriction I've placed upon myself, which probably was dumb anyway. I am torn up by something right now and I wish that I could write about it in detail here, but I dare not because I know that I am not as anonymous as I allow myself to pretend to be.

But, someone I love, admire and respect is hurting right now and I am one of the persons responsible for her feeling this way. It doesn't make me feel any better that this pain is largely the consequence of her inaction and attitudes. I still feel like I could and should have done more. I keep beating myself up for mistakes that I made- and I made quite a few.

I feel like no one should ever put me in charge of anything ever again.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Not So Sure About the Glamour....

The Recipe For Iris

3 parts Humor

2 parts Glamour

1 part Giddiness

Splash of Originality

Limit yourself to one serving. This cocktail is strong!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I Need Some Time....

...before I'm able to get back into blogging full-force. I need to take a bit of a breather from 2007 which brought child care shockers, changing jobs, (then losing the job), starting a another new job, the ice storm.....


I'm beat..... and my eye's been twitching..... and I've been a real grump.

So, I may not write very much for awhile. I will say that everything is going just swimmingly in my new interim gig. It seems to be a good fit. Thanks be to God.

Happy new year!

This a reindeer sculpture my son made out of felled branches after the ice storm.