Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Gift from Songbird

In the mail today I received a package from Songbird filled with some lovely smelling items: lavender scented soap, hand salve, foam bath, and candle all in a very pretty travel bag.

What did I do do deserve such wonderful self-care items, you ask? Nothing, except read and comment on her incredible blog. Apparently, a while back, mine was the 100,000 comment on her blog and she wanted to give a prize. Because we all know what a drag it is to read Songbird's blog and since no one reads it, she needs to bribe readers to drop by! ;)

But really, if there's a RevGal out there who hasn't checked out Songbird's blog (which I doubt, but you never know,) get thee to Set Free on the double to read wonderful posts from someone who really knows how to write.

Thanks, Songbird! I really appreciate the gift. How lucky am I?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Five: What Are You...

1. Wearing
a pink blouse, jean capri pants, bare feet

2. Pondering
I am the moderator of a Presbytery committee and I am trying to figure out how to respond to a Presbytery colleague who has gone over my head. Hmmmmm.....

3. Reading
I just finished a delightful novel titled Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross. It's about a proper Southern woman who find her voice and herself following the sudden death of her over-protective and patronizing husband.

4. Dreaming
I am dreaming about being the pastor of a small church in the mountains.

5. Eating
I'm eating a bowl of Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal with soy milk.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Is it wrong to hate teaching Confirmation class?

I have three middle school girls in the class this year. They are very sweet and I love them, but Confirmation is clearly not priority for them. They have mentors that they are supposed to meet with at least 4 times to talk about spiritual journey, worship, stewardship and mission. Then they are to do an assignment reflecting what they learned. We accomplished the spiritual journey portion at the opening retreat, but they have dragged their feet on the other assignments. In fact, I cancelled last week's meeting because none of them had done their assignments. Yesterday, one girl showed up on time (with out her assignment completed) and the other two completely forgot that we had class! I gave a schedule to them AND their parents at the beginning and I make phone calls to remind them. Grrrrrr....

So, I had a "come to Jesus" conversation with them and told them that perhaps we should just cancel the class all together and try again next year. They seemed shocked that I would even consider doing that and I could see them searching my face to see if I was bluffing. I wasn't and they realized that.

So, we'll see.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Five: Surprised By Joy

Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?" They answered him, "No."He said to them, "Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. (John 21:5-7)

Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5b)

Songbird says: This week I've been watching parents of the young people slain at Virgina Tech trying to make meaning out of the lives of their lost children, and each one seems to begin by focusing on something joyful about that child. It's a gift that most humans have brains wired to respond in that way. For some of us it can be harder to work our way out of dark places, but I believe joy remains the key. It is the spirit of resurrection.

Tell us about five people, places, or things that have brought surprising, healing joy into your life.

1) My husband, J.
I was not one of those little girls who had her wedding planned by the time she was 12. Before I met J., my longest dating relationship had been 4 months and I honestly didn't care if I ever got married. I met J. on New Year's Eve ... at a bar. (Anybody who knows me well thinks that is hysterical!) When I met J., my thought was ,"Oh, there you are!" We were married 8 months later and will celebrate our 9th anniversary this August. Actually, we celebrate 2 anniversaries each year; the one in August and another on New Year's Eve.

2) My children, J.H. and C.
Experiences like a few nights ago notwithstanding (see last post and comments), my children have brought inexpressible joy into my life. Before I met my husband, I never really imagined myself as a mother. In fact, I told J. that if having children was very important to him, he probably shouldn't marry me. However, the strangest thing happened, I said "I do" and then I wanted kids. It was truly that instantaneous!

I love my kids for all the ways they remind me of myself and my husband and for all the ways in which they are completely and utterly their own persons. For instance, my daughter at 3 years old has already told me all about her wedding. She says she's going to wear a white dress, white tights, white sandals, white gloves, and white headband.

3) City in the Bible Belt
I've written before about how wonderful our experience in this city has been. I never imagined that we would like living here as much as we do, as I had no idea how much this city had to offer in the way of of museums, parks, etc. I'm not sure how much longer we'll be living here, so I have been making a list of all the things I want to make sure to do here before we leave.

4) Spiritual Direction training
Last September, a pastor in our Presbytery who has a spiritual direction practice (is that the right term?) called me out of the blue to ask if I would be interested in a joining a spiritual direction group. She said that my name kept popping up to her in prayer and on my end, the topic of spiritual direction was constantly coming up in conversation and in my readings. It has been absolutely fantastic to practice many forms of prayers and learn how lead groups in these disciplines. This is year one of a 3 year course to be certified as a spiritual director.

5) RevGalBlogPals
I had been craving fellowship with a community of women pastors and for months I had been searching the Internet for such a community. However, when I would plug in "women pastors" or "female clergy" and so on in the search engine, it would only come up with sites for pastors' wives and sites dedicated to arguing against women becoming pastors. How great was my surprise and joy when I read about RevGalBlogPals in a September issue of the Christian Century! I am inspired, challenged, entertained and empowered by your posts and I cherish each and every encouraging, kind, funny and smart-assed comment you make my blog! I only wish I had found you all much, much sooner!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'm Just Sayin'...

Dining out with a 3 year old just plain sucks.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


My first thought when I heard the news yesterday was, "Dear God, not again!" It took me right back to April of 1999 when I was living in Denver and serving a church in a neighboring suburb of Littleton. I had kids in my youth group who knew some of the kids who were killed, as well as the shooters, Dylan and Eric.
Like most fo us, I suppose, I feel so helpless to do anything. So, I can only add my prayers to the prayers of so many in our country and around the world for comfort for the shocked and grief-stricken.

God help us all.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Yeah, I'm Weird.

Alex tagged me with this meme. ETA: I just discovered that Cheesehead also tagged me for this one. My weirdness is known to all, apparently! :)

I am to name six aspects of my weird self! Only six? I could go on and on, but here you go:

1. I like to drink water and I like to drink lemonade, but I don't care for lemon in my water.

2. The only Rolling Stones songs I like are in a minor key (e.g. "Paint It Black.")

3. I can whistle a tune through my rolled up tongue. My kids love it when I whistle "This Old Man" (also the tune for Barney's "I Love You" song.)

4. I hate, I hate, I hate going clothes shopping. When I need to buy new clothes, I need a chaperon to accompany me or I won't try anything on and I'll gravitate to the bookstore.

5. I don't like french fries or popcorn.

6. When I was a little girl of about five or six, I would play "church" and serve communion to my dolls. I heard the call to the pastoral ministry early in life!

I tag Hipchickmamma, Lutheran Mom and Mags

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Who, Me Hyper-Critical?

I've been called out.

In the past two days, two people I love and admire, my husband and our Presbytery's General Presbyter (GP), have lovingly and gently pointed out to me that I may be putting up a wall of hyper-criticism in my search for a new call. They're right. I tend to read a CIF with an eye toward what might be wrong with these churches rather than the points of connection.

I do this because I am afraid of the "bait and switch," that I have already experienced. Back in 2001 when I accepted my first call, I was too naive and inexperienced to realize that I would never be able to live up to the unspoken expectations of many members of this church and the Head of Staff. Namely, that my mere presence as a young, 29 year old pastor would attract hoards of young families to the church. Oh, and they didn't want to change anything in order for this to happen. Disillusionment set in, on both sides, and I left after 15 months. It was definitely not what I had in mind when I first felt called to be a pastor.

Well, my husband got a job in this city and I came along with my tail between my legs, without a call. God has been good. I didn't even have to look for employment, two churches sought me out and I worked as a part-time, uninstalled pastor at both; one for 3 months and the other for 3 years and counting. It has been great, as I have been able to work as a pastor and spend lots of time with my son and daughter (who was born here 7 months after we arrived.)

So, yes I am extremely wary and careful about which churches I engage in conversion. I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing, but I am deluding myself in thinking that I can control everything about this call process. I can always think of a thousand reasons why a church isn't the right one: too big, too small, too rich, too poor, no Spanish immersion program for my son, they have their children's Sunday School during worship (that IS a major deal to me, however), and so on and so on.

My GP is right, I need to go into the process looking for the positives, because if I'm looking for the negatives, I'll certainly find them. What it comes down to is fear: fear that I won't find the right place.... and fear that I will. My hyper-criticism is allowing me to remain static and not have to make any decisions.

So, I did send off a sermon tape today that was requested by a PNC in a very cold state (see, there I go again!) And I continue to send my PIF out. I appreciate your prayers so much.

The kaleidoscope keeps turning...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Random Thoughts After Holy Week

I'm easing back into blogging after a bit of a drought. Here's what is on my mind this Easter Monday...

  • The TV fast was so great! My kids and I did a bunch of craft projects, sang songs around the piano, read several books.
  • As a result, I've established a new "no TV on school days" rule.
  • My son countered with a "no blogging for Mama until kids are in bed" rule.
  • He's absolutely right!
  • Today I watched the American Idol episodes I taped during Holy Week. Poor Gina: she had to sing the sad Charlie Chaplin song for her sing-out. "Smile, though your heart is breaking." :( And I love Michael Buble, but I think he might have had a couple before he performed. Yikes!
  • I started taking Wellbutrin last week and it seems like it's helping with my concentration and energy.
  • Getting off of zoloft really sucks. I'm tapering it off like I'm supposed to, but I'm still feeling a bit nauseated and dizzy.
  • My husband is getting frustrated with me becasue I am so "blah" about every Church Information Form (CIF) I read. He is so ready for me to be working full-time because there is always more month than paycheck.
  • The interim pastor hasn't met a litany that she doesn't like. I'm getting really tired of having everything so dang scripted in worship.
  • Yes, I know my frustration is less about her and more about my restlessness and desire to be a solo pastor.
  • I'm having major guilt issues because leaving here would mean taking my son out of an amazing Spanish language immersion school. I've prayed that God would call me somewhere with a similar program, but is that trying to put conditions on God's call?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Holy Week

Let the same mind be in you that was that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross

Philippians 2:5-8

(Marc Chagall: The White Crucifixion)