Thursday, December 21, 2006

Talk to You All Next Year!

The antibiotics are finally kicking in and I am beginning to feel human again. However, my son is now saying that his throat is hurting him. Please, God, not again.

My laptop's got some problems, so I've got to send it into Dell tomorrow. Thankfully it's still under warranty. So, you won't be hearing from me until I get it back- however long that takes.

When 2006 began, I had no clue that I would join the blogosphere and meet so many wonderful people who encourage me in my life and ministry. So, with gratitude for all of you, I wish you a blessed Christmas and a very Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Strep for Me, Yippee!

I just returned for my Doctor and I have strep. So, today I'm singing Songbird's "Swollen Glands" song from last week. Come to think of it, we must be passing this crud around our blogring! No, I know it's all my son's fault!

Thankfully, strep is easily taken care of with some antibiotics. But, that's no issue, because I have nothing else to do this week, right?

One funny to share- my doctor actually gagged when she looked at my throat! Maybe that's only funny to me!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Preaching Sick

I'm running a fever; my throat hurts really bad; I'm aching all over and I've got the chills.

Yet, when I came to the pulpit, I didn't feel any pain and my voice was clear and strong.

I'll never never cease to be amazed when that happens! I felt upheld by the Spirit and I really didn't want to leave the pulpit. I did, though reluctantly!

At these times I am re-reminded that it's not about me. Thank God!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday Five: Yuletide Favorites

For this mid-December Friday Five, let's explore some Yuletide favorites.

1) It's a Wonderful Life--Is it? Do you remember seeing it for the first time?
I don't remember seeing this for the first time, much in the same way I don't remember seeing The Wizard of Oz the first time.

2) Miracle on 34th Street--old version or new?

There's a new version? I missed that one. I don't think that any little girl could do skepticism quite as convincingly as young Natalie Wood!

3) Do you have a favorite incarnation of Mr. Scrooge?

It's a toss up between Mr. Magoo and Bill Murray!
Susan Lucci- not so much.

4) Why should it be a problem for an elf to be a dentist? I've been watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for years now, and I still don't get it.
I don't get it either. Don't elves get cavities from all the candy they eat?

5) Who's the scariest character in Christmas specials/movies?
Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Muppet Version
That Mean Magician Who Tries to Melt
Your Nomination

The Winter Warlock from Santa Claus is Coming to Town (before he became good) always made me run out of the room when I was little.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Christmas Story for Those Having A Bad Day

This was just the giggle I needed after an ugly run-in with our grouchy and insubordinate church secretary!

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the pre-Christmas pressure. Then Mrs Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where. Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered. So, frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum.

When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said very cheerfully, "Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?"

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

Tee Hee!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Oh, How the Years Go By

I've seen this meme around the blogring the past few days and, since I can't think of anything else to write about, I'll give it a whirl.

Twenty years ago, I was:

  • in the 9th grade and captain of the cheerleading squad;
  • living with my family in the least populated state in our country;
  • being trained in Youth Evangelism Explosion;
  • feeling conflicted about what I was being taught in YEE;
  • very, very, very boycrazy!

Fifteen years ago, I was:

  • a Sophomore at a small, church-related university;
  • a Bible and Religion major;
  • sporting a very, very short hairstyle;
  • probably in the midst of final papers for the semester;
  • beginning to wonder if I would remain in my denomination;
  • still pretty boy crazy!

Ten years ago, I was:

  • living back in the state with more antelope than people;
  • serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer working with at-risk Junior High students;
  • paying the bills working part-time at Pizza Hut;
  • beginning to gather seminary applications;
  • a serial dater (still boy-crazy!)

Five years ago, I was:

  • living in the Mile High City with my husband of 3 years and our 1 year old son;
  • still boy crazy, but only for the two boys in my life;
  • newly graduated from seminary (well, 6 months earlier;)
  • working as an on-call chaplain in a local hospital;
  • preparing to move to another state to begin serving in my first call;
  • knowing in my heart of hearts that said first call wasn't the best match.

One year ago, I was:

  • enjoying the Advent season in our newly purchased home in city in the Bible Belt with husband of 7 years, 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter (now girl crazy, too!)
  • serving as part-time Associate in gift of grace from God congregation;
  • having fun writing two dialogue sermons with my beloved colleague for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day service. I didn't know it would be our last Christmas serving together;

Yesterday, I was:

  • cleaning the house like a mad woman because I just couldn't take it anymore!
  • helping my little girl get dressed up in her "pretty dress-up, dancing dress" to go to the choir concert of two of our high school youth;
  • planning Christmas Eve service;
  • reading the Television Without Pity forums on the TV show, Heroes, because I'm in serious withdrawl! January 22 until the next new show!
  • feeling restless, yet grateful.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Fa-la-la-la-la, La Friday Five

From the RevGals:

Reverendmother here... those of you who read my blog know I have a love-hate relationship with the 24/7 Christmas music we're subjected treated to in stores and radio (in the U.S. at least). It gets too sentimentally sticky-sweet sometimes, yet I find myself unable to resist it. Nothing says "it's Christmas" to me like John Denver and Rolf the Dog singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." So...

1. A favorite 'secular' Christmas song.

It's really just a silly pop song, and I don't know it's actual title, but I like the song by Wham that goes,
"Last Christmas I gave you my heart,
but the very next day you gave it away.
This year to save me from tears,
I'll give it to someone special."

This song reminds me of Anica and Brigitta, two of my favorite students when I taught English in Budapest the two years after college. They loved this song and were aghast that I had never heard it.

I also like the way George Michael sings the word "special." It's so special.

2. Christmas song that chokes you up (maybe even in spite of yourself--the cheesier the better)

This is easy. I always get choked up when I hear Amy Grant singing the words, "Everyone would have a friend" in the song "Grown-up Christmas List." I can't stand the thought of a friendless person. I don't have the same reaction when Vanessa Williams or Kelly Clarkson sings the song, however. Perhaps I have the feeling that Amy might actually care about lonely people, too.

Now, I hate songs that seem crafted just to yank the tears from your tear ducts. Which brings me to.....

3. Christmas song that makes you want to stuff your ears with chestnuts roasted on an open fire.

I think the song is called "Christmas Shoes" by a Christian group called Newsong. It's about a little girl who wants to buy her dying mommy a certain pair of shoes so that she'll look pretty when she goes to see Jesus. That song is all over the radio here!

4. The Twelve Days of Christmas: is there *any* redeeming value to that song? Discuss.

Ummm.... It's a good mind exercise to help prevent memory loss?

5. A favorite Christmas album

Truthfully, my favorite is an acoustic guitar Christmas tape that I got from the dollar store.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

There is Hope for Us Yet!

Oh how I dreaded going to Presbytery today! We had before us an overture from the sessions of three of our congregations which sought to "clarify ordination standards" by declaring that all the ordination standards in G-6 of our Book of Order are "essential." This was, of course, very controversial and I expected there to be some fireworks at today's meeting. However, that is not what happened, thank God!

The wisdom of the Presbytery (53-30) was to postpone voting on this motion for one year and charge our Connecting Congregations committee to develop a plan for us to engage in the work that General Assembly has charged us to do in adopting the recommendations of the Theological Task Force on the Peace, Unity and Purity of the Church. So, in the next year, we will be creating theologically diverse groups to join together in worship, bible study, prayer, sharing our stories, and listening to one another. In other words, we'll do our best, with God's help, to move beyond our "positions" and see each other as sisters and brothers in Christ as we discuss these issues that we all believe to be very important.

I know that there are those who are very disappointed and angry that the Presbytery took this action, and I pray that they will be willing to enter into this time of discernment with the rest of us. We need their voices and experiences. I know that I will need to be reminded of this fact time and time and time again!

Thank God, there is hope for us yet!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday Five: Adventually

Songbird says: Although it comes as late as it can this year, Advent is upon us. Some of us grew up observing it, while to others (including this childhood Baptist) it was even more foreign than Lent! Over the past twenty years, I have grown to love Advent as a season of preparation, although as a pastor I find it harder to practice it at home than at church, even when the church might prefer I make it the other way 'round.

Here are five questions about Advent for this first of December:

1) Do you observe Advent in your church?
Yes, indeed!

2) How about at home?
The kids each have an advent calendar thanks to a sweet woman from church. We don't usually have an advent wreath at home.

3) Do you have a favorite Advent text or hymn?
I always get the chills when I hear "O Come, O Come Immanuel" for the first time each year.

4) Why is one of the candles in the Advent wreath pink? (You may tell the truth, but I'll like your answer better if it's funny.)
One of the candles told a dirty joke about the shepherds and the sheep that made one of them blush.

5) What's the funniest/kitschiest Advent calendar you've ever seen?
There are some doozies out there. But I'll forgive even the kitschiest if it has chocolate!

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Okay, you're gonna get a different Iris today than in my last post.
I handled yesterday's inconvenience with the mom-mobile okay and actually had some fun.

But last night, some shithead decided to bash-in the window of our other car! We had nothing to steal! A storm front moved in bringing with it sleet and ice and we're expected to receive several inches of snow today.

I guess the big difference between the two events is that with the car window someone deliberately did it. As much as I imagine that the mom-mobile has a grudge against me, it didn't break the ignition itself. I want one of those bumper stickers that say, "Mean People Suck!"

So, another $140 We may very well celebrate a "Buy Nothing Christmas!"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Surprise Mini Retreat!

I've never enjoyed having car trouble more!

At about 2:30 this afternoon I went to our local Cokesbury bookstore for what I thought would be a quick trip to pick up some books I had ordered. When I returned to my mom-mobile (Dodge Caravan) I found that my key would not budge in the ignition.

We've resisted joining that lobbying group known as AAA, but I was kinda wishing I was a card carrying member right then. I called a mechanic and he told me that I needed to call a locksmith. For some reason, hundreds of people chose today to lock themselves out. I called eight locksmiths before I found one who could help me, but I had to wait until he finished three other jobs, of course. My husband was home sick with the flu and wasn't keen on packing the kids up to come get me, just to take me back when the locksmith was able to get around to me. Besides, I didn't know how long I would be waiting.

Well, the locksmith didn't arrive until 6:00 PM, but I didn't care because I was in a bookstore! I was able to leisurely look over all the shelves without feeling guilty about lolly-gagging! I got to take a good look at some titles that I had thought looked good in the catalogs but didn't want to commit to buying without knowing more. I tried on some stoles. Two pastors in the Presbytery came in at different times and I chatted with them. I discovered that the store manager (I'll call him Mark) is married to a pastor in town and they have children the same ages as ours. We're going to make plans to have Mark and his family over for dinner sometime soon.

This mini retreat wasn't free, however. The locksmith bill was $110. Ouch!

Friday, November 24, 2006


I am thankful for a stress-free Thanksgiving yesterday. I prepared the entire meal, but never felt rushed! My in-laws have been delightful. We live far away from both sets of grandparents, so it's been great to let them have their grandkid fix!

I am also thankful for chewable antibiotic tablets that the Boy can take instead of gaggy liquid. No more chasing him around the house! He is feeling much better today. Yesterday, he opted to sleep rather than come to the table with the rest of us. Sleep was exactly what was needed, as he is a bundle of energy today. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Update on the Birthday Boy

My little boy turns six years old today and gets to celebrate with a recurrence of strep throat. Yippee! So, another round of heavier-duty antibiotics.

Monday, November 20, 2006

To Dye Or Not To Dye?

I found my first gray hair when I was 8 years old. It's been downhill ever since. With my very dark hair, the suckers have always been easy to spot. If I saw one, I'd just yank it out; never believing the old wives tale about 3 more growing back in its place.

Well, sisters, I'm a believer now! However, the 3 new gray hairs for every 1 plucked didn't grow in immediately. They waited to grow in this past year. I feel like I've aged 10 years in the past 3 years, and I don't like it one bit. I'm only 34 years old! Gah! I never really thought this would bother me so much!

So, do I turn to the bottle? Of hair-dye, I mean! I have used semi-permanent color in the past year, but haven't yet committed to the permanent stuff. The two times I've done color, my sister or sister-in-law have applied it for me and they both live 800 miles away. I'm a little afraid of messing my hair all up and I can't afford to have it done. I've been letting it just go gray for the past few months and while I know that a few gray hairs can't hurt as a pastor, I've always believed that my (now relative) youth was an asset.

Do I age gracefully, cheerfully accepting the changes that come along, or do I resist?

On a more important topic: please pray for my son. He was very sick a week or so ago with Scarlet Fever. He's been better this week, but has spiked another fever tonight. Tomorrow is the little guy's birthday, too!

No Lurking This Week!

The RevGals have declared this week an offical delurking week, starting today and going until November 26. So, I'm joining in and committing to at least say "hi" when I read a blog. We all like to have lots of comments, it makes us feel good!
So, when you visit a blog, you can either just say "Thank you for blogging" or place a blogstone (o) (The invention of PPB of The Ice Floe) or whatever verbage the Spirit moves you to leave.
Let the Delurking begin!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Five: Giving Thanks

Songbird says: It's that time of year. In the U.S., college students will be on their way home, traffic on the highways will be at its highest point, cooking and baking will ensue. But before the gorging and napping begins, let's take a moment to give thanks.
Please tell us five things or people for which you are thankful this year.
Well, there are way more than five! But here goes...
1. My sweet, patient, goofy husband!
2. My little boy and girl who keep me grounded and keep me from taking myself too seriously!
3. The people of our community of faith who continually inspire me into deeper relationship with God.
4. Indoor plumbing!
5. Dora the Explorer- for the much needed breaks she affords me!

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'm Home

I'm home, but I am NOT feeling relaxed and refreshed. I came home to my son who had broke out with Scarlet fever, strep, and impetigo while I was gone. Yeah, I'm experiencing a wee bit of mommy guilt here!

The conference was good and I did, indeed, enjoy having some time to myself. However, I have come home feeling quite depressed about the state of the PC(USA). All of this is beginning to hit close to home. I was informed yesterday that one of our "big steeple" church's leadership has submitted an overture to our Presbytery to require us to "strictly enforce G-6.0106b," which is the anti-LGBT ordination language in our constitution. So, I have a big fight at next month's Presbytery meeting to look forward to!

Honestly, I sometimes wonder if the most faithful response at this point wouldn't be to just split amicably and get about the business of ministry. What would be the best witness to the world? I just don't know. I just know that I'm weary of the fighting.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Going to Columbus!

I'm leaving tomorrow for the Covenant Network of Presbyterians conference in Columbus, OH. I must confess that I'm just as excited about staying in a hotel room all by myself as I am about the conference. Okay, I'm a little more excited about the solitude!

I'll be back at the end of the week. I'm hopeful that this conference will help me to be more informed and able to work for justice in our denomination's ordination standards. There will be much to share when I return, I'm sure!

God's peace to you all.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday Five: Nothing But the Tooth

Songbird says:

We are in the throes of what will (hopefully) be the final set of braces in this family, and so my mind is on the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth.

Please share your thoughts on the following:

1) The Tooth Fairy: I love her! When I was 8 years old, I had to have 8 teeth pulled at once. I think she felt sorry for me, so she left me 10 bucks that night! Just a couple of weeks ago, my son lost his first tooth and I got to play Tooth Fairy for the first time!

2) Flossing: Lame joke alert! "You don't have to floss all of your teeth; just the ones you want to keep." If I had a nickel for how many times a dental hygienist has told me that one...

Flossing is very important. I do it every single day. As the wise Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman, "You shouldn't neglect your gums!"

3) Toothpaste Brands: I use Aim because it's cheap, has flouride and is accepted by the American Dental Association. What more do you need?

4) Orthodontia for Adults: Go for it!

5) Whitening products: The marketing frenzy for these products went over the edge when they started advertising "Age-Defying" toothpaste! Give me a break! Also, have you noticed that some people end up with practically glow-in-the-dark teeth after getting their teeth professionally whitened?

Bonus: I'm about to drop my dentist because he has started charging a $7 "sterilization fee." WTF? So, I have to pay extra for him to sterilize his instruments? Has anyone else come across this?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hey, Presby Bloggers!

I was wondering if any Presbyterian(USA) bloggers out there are going to the Covenant Network of Presbyterians conference in Columbus, OH next week. If so, it would be fun to say "hi!"

Happy Halloween everyone! I saw this over at Cheeshead's. Pretty funny! I wonder what the plural pronoun says about me?

'What" will your obituary say?' at

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Young Saints

This morning was a "Youth Sunday" in the life of our congregation. The youth prepared a service with an All Saints' Day theme and did a terrific job of leading us in worship. Three of our young saints preached short sermons, which were all just excellent. I don't think that my first sermon at age 26 measured up to these by 16 and 17 year olds! I have obtained permission from one of the young preachers to share his sermon here on my blog. He preached with such passion and sincerity, which really touched everyone who heard him. It was especially poignant when he spoke about his dad. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. I was moved to hear this young man speak about faithfulness to God's call as being the mark of a saint. I also appreciated his use of a Bob Dylan song!

You’re Gonna Have to Serve Somebody

You may be an ambassador to England or France.
You may like to gamble, you may like to dance.
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world.
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
Yes indeed, you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
Well, it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord,
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

You’re gonna have to serve somebody. I can’t be positive what the philosopher, Bob Dylan, meant exactly by that, but here’s what I think he meant. We are all called to serve. And that, to me, is what a saint is. I believe that a saint is a person who God has called on to serve him. A saint is someone who, through their own ways, has served to the best of his ability, and in doing so, inspired others to serve. Each and every one of us is a saint, and we interact with saints everyday.

You may be a construction worker working in a home.
You may live in a mansion or you might live in a dome.
You might own guns and might even own tanks.
You might be somebody’s landlord, you might even own banks.
But you are gonna have to serve somebody.
Yes indeed, you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord,
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Now if I had to pick one saint out of all the wonderful people I get to see on a daily basis to talk about today, it would have to be my friend, J. J. has known me my entire life, being m next door neighbor for many years. I have never met any other man like J. He has been a positive influence to me for 17 years now and was my mentor for confirmation. I hope that me being around J. has influenced me and made me who I am today. And I think it has.

Might wear cotton, might like to wear silk.
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk.
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread.
You might be sleeping on the floor, sleeping on a king-sized bed.
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
Yes indeed, you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
Well, it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord,
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Now what makes a saint a saint? To me a saint served God through their actions in their everyday life. Reggie Bush is a saint. After being drafted by the New Orleans Saints, Reggie has helped lift a football team back to its feet. More importantly, he has given the city a newfound sense of hope. But he’s not the only one helping New Orleans. A group of our fellow church members went to New Orleans to help rebuild the city. My father was one of them. My dad is the saint I wish I could be. Now here’s the funny thing about saints. We are all different and so no two people will serve God in the same way. I will never be able to serve like Reggie Bush serves. And as much as I wish I could, I won’t be able to serve in the same way that my father does. Although I can’t serve in the same way he does, I can still serve and be faithful to the call of God. For that’s what all saints do, be faithful to the call of God. Now, I will finally stop talking and leave you with a bit more from Bob Dylan.

You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy.
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy.
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray.
You may call me anything, but no matter what you say,
You’re gonna have to serve somebody.
Yes indeed, you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
Well, it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord,
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My First Blogger Meet-Up!

So, I've only been doing this blog thingy for about a month and I've already had my first blogger meet-up. I met up with Linda from Against a Brick Wall for lunch today. (You should have seen my husband's face when I told him I was going to go to lunch with someone I met online! I then told him that it was with another RevGal and he exhaled.)

Linda first contacted me by what she calls, "a blogger freak-out." You see, I had made a comment on St. Casserole's blog that led her to believe that we were living in the same city. So, she left me a message on my blog and I e-mailed her back. She was correct, we live in the same city in the Bible Belt. By golly, it's great to have another progressive in town!

I had a wonderful time getting to know Linda. We figured out that we had met before, briefly, when she visited my church in early September. This was a couple of weeks before I had even heard of RevGals. I admitted to her that I had peeked into her archives to read about her impressions of our congregation. I kinda knew what I might read, as it was a low ebb Sunday- being Labor Day weekend. She says on her blog that her comments were unfair, but I disagree. I was delighted for the opportunity to read the thoughts of a first-time visitor. How often do you get that chance? She was correct that the service was a snooze-fest! I wasn't preaching! :) Although I certainly have preached my share of sermons suitable for naptime!

I was also delighted to have the opportunity to discuss some of, what I feel, were misperceptions of our community. Again, how often do you get that chance? It's truly a wonderful community- inclusive, warm, challenging, fun. Of course I hope that she gives us another look, but that wasn't the reason I met her for lunch. I wanted to make a new friend, and I believe that I did! How fun is that!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I've Never Thought About It This Way Before....

I came across this quote today by Robert Louis Stevenson:

"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world."

This thought has made my day, perhaps my year! This is a revelation for me, as I tend to be one of those folks who begins to feel guilty when I find myself feeling too happy. Some teenagers in a youth group I led many years ago taught me an alternative "Happy Birthday" song which fits me to a "T."

It goes: "Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday!
Vultures flying in the air,
People dying everywhere.
BUT- Happy Birthday!"

Yeah, that's me. I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Yet, I know that God's abundant life is also for me. And- wow- my happiness is God's will for my life! I can still be mindful of suffering and injustice AND claim joy that is mine as a precious child of God. Hmmm.. happiness as a spiritual discipline. Go figure!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sweet Honey in the Rock

I went to church tonight!!! The women of Sweet Honey in the Rock were in my city singing the songs of freedom, justice and love. They are prophetic voices! When they sing, they imagine a world shaped by the gospel, where all are free to be who God created them to be. If these incredibly gifted women come to your town, don't miss them!

Friday Five: Word Association

Below you will find five words. 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 or a story. (Yes, they're all from Job 38!)

whirlwind: tornado (I live in tornado alley)

foundation: Hymn #442 in the blue hymnal, "The church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord"

lightning: This word reminds me of the most frightened I have ever been in my life. My husband and I began our married life living in Colorado. Three weeks into our marriage, we went hiking up Bison Peak. About three-quarters of the way up the mountain, I noticed that the clouds were beginning to gather. I wondered if we should turn back, but my husband assured me that we could make it. I foolishly trusted him, because he was the more experienced hiker. We arrived at the summit and immediately the lightning began striking! I don't remember this, but my husband swears that I asked for a divorce!

den: I wish I had one that I could hide in sometimes!

prey: My feet have been my cat's prey lately!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Five: Creature Comforts

It's time to settle into Fall! This week's RevGal Friday Five is all about comfort.

1. Comfort beverage

A steaming mug of herbal tea sweetened with a little honey

2. Comfort chair
I'm still searching for that perfect comfy chair to call my own. Until then, I'm usually curled up on the couch under my wolf blanket when I want to relax at home.

3. Comfort read
It depends... Sometimes a mindless women's magazine is just the thing. Or the Wittenberg Door, if I need a good laugh. Other times, I want to submerge myself in a great story. I have to admit that I can't wait for the last Harry Potter book to come out.

4. Comfort television/DVD/music
I just lovethe new TV show, Ugly Betty! It's funny and sweet.

Since we got a DVR, I have been watching a lot of older movies that I've never before seen like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and North By Northwest. None of today's male movie stars have a tenth of the charisma of Cary Grant or Paul Newman!

These days, I am loving Anna Nalick's CD, the Magnolia soundtrack, and Stevie Wonder's greatest hits.

5. Comfort companion(s)
My husband, my kids (when they aren't jumping on each other's or my head!), my two cats, my local preacher mommy friend

Monday, October 09, 2006

Job Description

The new Interim Pastor wants me to submit to her tomorrow a job description that reflects how I spend my 20 hours a week. I'm thinking:

Youth ministry: 20 hours
CE: 20 hours
Pastoral Care: 20 hours
Worship/Preaching: 20 hours
Whatever Else Comes Up: 20 hours

What do you think? Too sarcastic?

I just find it so hard to quantify what I do. This is probably a very good exercise for me. I know I should keep track of my hours each week, but everytime I think to do it I am unsure what I should count. Does the 45 minute conversation on the phone with Johnny's mom count? Do I count the hour online searching for that great youth ministry idea? Do I count the time I spend reading and writing blogs? :)

The great thing is that much of the time I am enjoying myself so much that I don't feel like I'm working. What a gift!

Friday, October 06, 2006

RevGal Friday Five: Civic Duties

It's that season of the year when lawn signs are sprouting as surely as flowers in the spring; elections are just around the corner. And so today we bring you a Civic Duty Friday Five.

1) How old were you when you voted for the first time?
hmmm... I think I was 20. I was in college and I voted by absentee ballot so I could weigh in on my home state's issues.

2) What was the contest at the top of the ballot?
It was Bush/Quayle vs. Clinton/Gore. I voted wrong, but I'll let you wonder in what way!

3) Can you walk to your polling place?
We just moved into a new house not long ago, so I haven't yet voted at our new polling place. Distance-wise, I think I could, but I would have to cross a very busy street to get there. Since I almost always have one of my children with me, it probably wouldn't be wise.

4) Have you ever run for public office?
No, thank you!

5) Have you run for office in a club or school or on a board?
Oh my gosh, I have run for sooo many offices, especially when I was a kid. Let's see, in Junior High I ran for home room representative in 7th grade, but lost. In 9th grade, I was Student Body Presidentof my Jr. High and Captain of the 9th grade cheerleading squad. In High School I ran for Vice-President of the Sophomore class, but lost. I did win the races for Junior class Secretary and Thespian Vice-President the next year. I was also elected to my then denomination's national youth planning committee and as President of my state's youth ministry. My Senior year I was Thespian President. Geez... no wonder I never got my homework done!

In college, I was elected Junior class rep to the Student Senate and then Senate Chairperson the next year. I was also Vice-President of Alpha Psi Omega- the drama honor society.

I think I got all of that out of my system, as I have not run (nor do I intend to ever run) for office again.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I Need a Good Belly Laugh

Okay- I'm in a bit of a funk. Ever since the Interim Pastor came, I have been feeling superfluous. I feel like I have started a new job and don't know what to do. I don't want to do too much and step on her toes, but I don't want to back-off and do too little. I wonder if anyone out there has had the experience of being an Associate Pastor and having to adjust to a new Head of Staff? I could use some tips, especially since I'm still trying to be part-time.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Some thoughts on "call"

I was in the office of a church member this morning and she was almost in tears out of worry because a member of our church's nominating committee had asked her to lunch. She knew the reason for the invitation-she was going to be asked to be on Session (our governing body of elders). This is the season in the life of our congregation when folks are being approached by our nominating committee to "prayerfully consider" serving on Session.

This woman is one of those 20% of the congregation that does 80% of the work and is getting terribly burned out. She said that she and her significant other (who is currently on session) might take a year or so off from church work. Why do we do this to ourselves and to our most faithful members? I think that part of the reason is the way we tend to go about inviting people into ministry. We use words like volunteer and recruit, which makes it seem that the ministry is just about plugging in warm bodies to do certian jobs without regard to calling and giftedness. Women and men are not recruited by Christ, but rather called by Christ to particpate in his creative and redemptive work in the world.

I encouraged this woman to ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit as she reevaluates her ministy activities. I am sure that God is not calling her to drop out completely, but is calling her to be discerning as to where she spends her energy. Ministry is work and often can be a struggle, but when one is working within one's unique giftedness, it also is a great joy, full of meaning and purpose. This woman told me she feels like she "must say yes because I should be willing to do what's needed." I told her to stop "shoulding" on herself and stop "musterbating." (This is a church member I can say such things to!)

So, I pray for all of us whose "no" button is broken- that we might say "no" in order that we might say "yes" to Christ's call.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hello, Blogosphere!

If you had asked me just last week if I would ever have a blog, I would have laughed until I peed. No, really. And so would anyone who knows me well. It takes me awhile to catch on to anything remotely technological. I just got a cell phone 2 months ago- and only because so many people were on my case about it. I still usually forget to take it with me.

Anyway, I changed my mind about blogging when I heard about the RevGalBlogPals the other day. I checked it out and was amazed to discover this world where people are talking about the kinds of things I want to talk about: putting faith into action, pastor/mommy stress, how much choclolate one had consumed in the past 5 hours.... So, I decided to get over myself and try to set up one of these blog thingys. You know, it wasn't so bad. It took me over an hour to do the "5 minute set-up," but my head did not explode!

So, here I am. I'm still not sure what I'm doing, but I want to be part of it! I've been craving the kind of mutual support, encouragement and laughter that I seen on other RGBP sites.

I've titled this blog 'Growing Where I'm Planted' because I'm feeling a little restless right now and I've been reminded of the advice I would get from my Mom when I was feeling this way growing up. She'd say, "You gotta grow where you're planted."

I am in a period of discernment right now. I am serving part-time (yeah, whatever) as a pastor in a PC(USA) congregation. I am incredibly blessed in my work. My congregation is a healthy, growing, fun, compassionate voice for justice and peace in our community. I have lots of opportunities to preach, which I love, and the worship is wonderful. However, since my head of staff (a beloved friend and colleague) left for another call a few months ago, I have been feeling very restless. I am not feeling called to leave this city. My family loves it here- my son just started Kindergarten in a Spanish language immersion school and my husband is happy in his work. My 3 year old is happy anywhere!

I began going to a spiritual director this past week becasue I've really been feeling the desire to go deeper in my spiritual practices. I had avoided spiritual direction because the classes I took in this vein in seminary seemed to me, at the time, to be a little "woo-woo." I wonder if anyone knows what I mean. I didn't "get" guided meditation. You know, meeting someone in a meadow and they give you a gift..... Yeah, I was a little resistant! And more than a little scared. I am looking forward to taking this journey with my spiritual director. Perhaps I will be able to listen for the Holy Spirit speaking to me in my restlessness.