Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My Afternoon

Before you read the rest of this, I want to let you know that I'm home and apparently have nothing wrong with me. Sure doesn't feel that way, but that's what the doc said.

At about 1:30 pm today, I sat down on the couch with my laptop, intent on actually doing some work, when all of the sudden I felt a squeezing pain in my chest and in between my shoulder blades. This pain was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. It wasn't a knock you on the floor searing pain, but like I was being squeezed in a vise.

Needless to say, I was a bit freaked out. So, I called my husband and told him to meet me and my daughter at the ER. At the hospital they performed an EKG, did blood work and took a chest x-ray. Nothing showed up, so I was sent home with a prescription for heavy-duty Motrin. I'm lying here on the couch still feeling squeezed in the chest and back. Weird.

I am definitely relieved that my ticker is working just fine. I did get a good scare today that made me decide to take steps to get rid of this extra 60 pounds that I'm lugging around. I have never really seriously tried to lose the weight, I just hoped that one day I'd wake up and it would all be gone! I haven't always been heavy. I was a size 5 in college.

So, Iris' "I'm sick of being a fat, fat fatty" lifestyle makeover begins now. Are there any other RevGals with some extra junk in their trunk? If anyone would like to join me in trying to live more healthfully, e-mail me. My e-mail address is on my profile page.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Yep, That's Me!

With a tip of the hat to St. Casserole and Songbird:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Empress Iris the Furtive of Walk upon Water
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Do you think I could put this on my PIF? Too much?

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I'm feeling whiny. Please bear with me....

I don't know if I'm being overly sensitive, but it seems as if my involvement in worship leadership is getting less and less as the weeks go by. Today I led a prayer and did the Invitation to the Table. I watched as the interim led the rest of the communion liturgy, including breaking the bread and pouring the cup. I used to preach at least once a month, but now I preach every 8 weeks.

I feel superfluous. There's going to be a new pastor soon and s/he isn't going to inherit me. It's time to go.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Kaleidoscope

A few nights ago the mother of one our teenagers(I'll call her Rachel) called me to ask if I could meet with them to discuss "Rachel's lying." Rachel is a straight A student, sweet, cute and very serious about her faith. In short, she's every mother's dream (and every pastor's dream, for that matter!) Her mom told me that Rachel had been falling into a pattern of telling little lies to either get what she wants or avoid getting into trouble. The latest incident involved her losing her house keys and pretending to find them so that she could go to lock-in at a friend's church. I was thinking, "Okay, she sounds like a very normal 16 year old to me." But clearly, her mom was very upset about her daughter straying off the straight and narrow, so I agreed to meet with them.

So tonight I met with mom, dad, and Rachel for coffee. Rachel was, as always, very polite but clearly mortified that she had to have a meeting with her parents and the pastor. I knew that she had to feel pretty ganged up on. So after asking everyone to relay just the facts of the situation at hand, I felt that I had to let Rachel know that this meeting was not just for her benefit, but for the whole family. So I turned to Rachel and said, "Please tell me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing that you're thinking, 'Mom and Dad, you should thank your lucky stars! I'm a good student. I don't drink or do drugs. And you're getting all worked up and calling the pastor because I fibbed about some house keys?'" Rachel breathed a sigh of relief and said, "Thank you, that's exactly how I feel about this!"

We were then able to have a really good discussion about how dishonesty can erode the trust in relationships and create big problems for a person. Rachel was also able to share how she feels that her mom and dad, in being so strict with her, sometimes create situations where she feels she has to lie in order to have any fun at all. It was a good meeting because this family genuinely loves each other and cares about their relationships.

Well,the main reason I am writing about this is because of the way I felt afterwards: hopeful, used by God, and fulfilled even. Since August, I've only felt this way in my work twice, both times after preaching good sermons. Our Interim Pastor began in August and I resumed my part-time associate position after 4 months of being the full-time acting Head of Staff. Since then, I have done precious little preaching and pastoral care, which I believe are my primary gifts for ministry. It is no wonder that I feel so energized after preaching and spending time listening to others.

I love the folks in the congregation I serve. They are truly wonderful and have been so good to me and my family. They are mission and justice oriented and have the best lay leadership, bar none. I am actually a little afraid that I have been spoiled for any other church, and I'm not really joking when I say that! However, I have for some time now been feeling the restlessness of the Spirit preparing me for a new ministry location. I just don't know what or where that will be right now. I keep having this image of a kaleidoscope in my mind. When you turn it, all the little pieces shift to create a new picture. Right now, I'm waiting for another piece to shift so I can fall into place.

In the meantime, faithfulness. And savoring ministry moments, such as tonight.


School is closed again tomorrow AND we are forcasted to get 5-7 inches of snow on Saturday. That might as well be 20 inches here. My kids may never go to school again.

Somebody help me.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cabin Fever

The kids' schools have been closed so far this week because of our deep freeze. And I just got word that they are closed again tomorrow. Okay, this Wyoming girl is thinking, "WTF?"

So, I'm going to have to sping for a babysitter tomorrow so that I can make an appearance at church at least once this week! That, and if I don't get away from my children for at least a little while, I am going to lose it! I feel like that woman on a commercial several years back that greets her husband at the door with, "Is Daddy-waddy home from worky-jerky?"

I do adore my children, but we've had a bit too much togetherness in our 1300 square foot home since Friday night. It will do them good to play with some other kids for a few hours because my brain is turning into tapioca pudding and my imagination has run dry.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Ice Storm

We've cancelled service tomorrow due to a bad ice storm that began yesterday and is going to continue for a couple of days. Right now, everything is calm and the kids are playing outside. It feels weird to not have anything to do on a Saturday afternoon!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Pre-School Theological Musings

A little while ago my daughter says to me, apropos of nothing;

"I don't like Jesus. Bubboo(translation: "Brother") likes Jesus. I like Mary."

3 years old and already desiring the sacred feminine!

Friday, January 05, 2007

On Feeling "Less Than"

This blogging business has been difficult for me because I have always been sensitive about others reading what I write. I love to preach, but really dislike it when someone says, "I'd like a copy of that sermon." That means I have to get my manuscript into a manageable form that someone might actually be able to read and understand- besides me! But the true reason I hate it is that I have no control over who reads it and cannot know how it will be received. I'm much more comfortable "letting the sermon go" and letting the Spirit take charge of how it's received when I'm in the pulpit, but I have this hang up about my manuscripts. I have this mental picture of someone I don't know reading one of my sermons and thinking, "Man, I feel sorry for her congregation!" I am in constant fear of being "less than."

I just began blogging in September and it challenges me for much the same reason: feeling "less than." I have to admit to being a bit awestruck by the women (and men!) in the RevGal blogring. At times it's downright intimidating! For the most part, I've just dabbled. I'll do the memes because they are pretty non-threatening and fun. I'll comment on someone else's blog because I'm piggy backing on something the author wrote. I'll post a cute story or some song lyrics. But I haven't really risked sharing my thoughts, feelings or insights on this blog, even though I'm using a pseudonym and only a very few know who I am.

I often have my best insights when I'm just about to fall asleep at night. Last night, as I was just about to doze, the thought came to me, "What if the original sin is this belief that one was 'less than?'" Eve enjoyed living in the Garden with an intimate relationship with God, but was able to be convinced that her life wasn't enough. I was taught as a child that our most basic sin was our pride, our desire to be more than we were created to be (i.e. God.) But couldn't it also be our tendency for many of us to diminish our personhood and be less than God created us to be? (Friends, in light of my topic, I am struggling against the urge to add, "I'm sure I'm not the first one to think of this." and "I'm sure others have said this before and more eloquently" So, I'll just add it parenthetically!)

I'm going to be more mindful to use this blog in a way that will help me to grow as a woman and a pastor. That doesn't mean that I'll stop doing the memes or leaving smart-assed comments on your blogs! But I will risk sounding out my half-baked, as well as brilliant, musings and insights for all to read!

In writing this, I'm reminded of the most famous thing that Nelson Mandela never said:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child
of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to
make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."

-Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love. (Often incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela.)

Friday Five: Birthday, Redux

Reverend Mother said: Yours truly had a birthday this week, and while we've done the birthday thing before, I'm going to do my best to come up with new questions...

1. "It's my party and I'll [blank] if I want to..."Favorite way to celebrate your birthday (dinner with family? party with friends? a day in solitude?)
Get a massage! I don't care about anything else, just get me to the spa!

2. "You say it's your birthday... it's my birthday too, yeah..." Do you share your birthday with someone famous? (Click here to find out!)
I'm pleased to say that I have the same birthday as Mother Teresa. (I got to meet her in 1994- another post!) Also, according to the website provided by Reverendmother, I share a birthday with Pee Wee Herman ("I know you are, but what am I?") Also, my birthday is the same as Alexa Vega, the little girl from the Spy Kids movies. My kids are major fans!

3. "Lordy Lordy look who's forty..."Milestone birthdays: a) just like any other birthday--they're just numbers, people. b) a good opportunity to look back/take stock c) enjoy the black balloons--I'll be hiding under a pile of coats until the day is over d) some combination of the above, or something else entirely.
I guess I choose "d." Of course, I'm not yet forty! :P

4. "Happy birthday, dear... Customer..."Have you ever been sung to in a restaurant? Fun or cringe-worthy?
If I get free dessert, sing off key all you want!

5. "Take my birthday--please"Tell me one advantage and one disadvantage about your particular birthday (e.g. birthday in the summer--never had to go to school; birthday near Christmas--the dreaded joint presents) EDITED TO ADD: This could also simply be something you like/dislike about your birthday (e.g. I like sharing a birthday with my best friend, etc.).
I have a late August birthday, so school started that day several years. Poop.

Monday, January 01, 2007

My Song for 2007

Happy New Year! I took myself to see the movie Dreamgirls the other day and ever since I have been singing this song, I Am Changing. Now, I'm not one to cry during movies- usually. But when Jennifer Hudson as Effie was singing this song (as well as I Am Tellin' You- shown in the pic), the tears were flowing and I was glad that I went to the movies by myself that day!

So, here's the song on my heart this first day of 2007; part prayer of confession; part petition; and all full of acknowledgment that no one accomplishes change all by herself.

I Am Changing
Look at me, Look at me
I am changing
Trying every way I can
I am changing
I'll be better than I am
I'm trying to find a way to understand
But I need you, I need you
I need a hand

I am changing
Seeing everything so clear
I am changing
I'm gonna start right now, right here
I'm hoping to work it out
And I know that I can
But I need you, I need a hand

All of my life I've been a fool
Who said I can do it on my own
How many good friends have I already lost?
How many dog nights have I known?
Walking down that wrong road
There was nothing I could find
All those years of darkness
Looking for some light

But now I can seeI am changing
Trying every way I can
I am changing
I'll be better than I am
But I need a friend
To help me start all over again
That would be just fine
I know it's gonna work out this time'
Cause this time I am
This time I am
I am changing
I'll get my life together now
I am changing
Yes I know howI'm gonna start again
I'm gonna leave my past behind
I'll change my life
I'll make a vow and nothings gonna stop me now