Wednesday, May 02, 2018

SPRING HAS FINALLY SPRUNG!

Yay! Here it is May 2nd and finally, there is sunshine and warm weather. The Bradford pears burst into full bloom yesterday and it is a lovely sight to see them line the long street in our subdivision.
That didn't happen last year due to a late frost, but this year they are glorious; a showy white.
  I haven't done much in the flowerbeds or garden because its been so cold. I have pulled some weeds, many more to go, and grass that needs to be dug up - why does it grow where it shouldn't and doesn't grow where it should? - and planted a couple hardier herbs - curled parsley, tarragon, rosemary and got carried away and planted the dill. I'm not sure the dill made it. I have to put in the crumbled egg shells and top it with Sweet Peet - best compost ever.
  I'll need to pick up a couple more herbs and my tomato seedlings, plus plant my flower seeds.
 Sigh, all in the month when there is so much going on.
 I make a list to remember everything I need to do in a triage fashion.
  Friday - raffle drawing for lift ride at church - should be there 8:30 pm at our downtown First
               Friday - need to call winner immediately since the lift ride is 1 pm next day.
              Sat - at church 12:30 pm, to meet the mayor who is doing the first lift ride at 1 pm,
                      roofer will stay a couple hours and offer lift rides for $5.00 to see town from
                     on high. I may just do it - for the once-in-a-lifetime experience but am a bit
                    scared of heights!
         Tues - Lunch Bunch at M church, need to cook chicken taco meat Monday evening
         May 12 - Car Show at church - stop in for lunch, see some cars, & take a swing at
                        smashing a car
       May 13th - Mom's Day, Grad recognition - wrap gift, sign card, bring in Teacher Thanks
                          gifts, bring in paper tea cups (presently cutting them out - then folding, cutting
                          slit, and putting a tea bag between the cups and threading the bag tea onto
                          the front of one cup, then glue dotting the tea tag to the cup and glue dotting
                          the folded cup together) why do I find this stuff and then spend time doing it
                         all? Because I love and care!
       May 20th - Pentecost and Confirmation - would love to hang strips of  red, yellow, orange
                          crepe paper but haven't figured out where and how - since this is a cathedral
                          church. Make up gift bags for confirmands and sign their cards.
 Somewhere along the way, I need to reschedule my massage, and I'm due for a pedicure, maybe after I clean house next Friday!
    May is a busy month in the life of the church, in the lives of people in the church, so much
going on in the schools as everything comes to a hilt before summer break.
   But it is a beautiful time of year and I am savoring green grass, the flowering trees and all that's
finally coming into bloom - COLOR! How it brings the soul to sing to see it all!
    In the busyness of all you are a part of this month - look around you! See the color, notice
what is blooming and growing, let it fill you, speak to you of new life and energy. Be grateful
and appreciative and feel blessed.

Monday, April 09, 2018

EASTER SEASON

Thankful that I survived another Lent, Holy Week and Easter!
  I promptly got sick Holy Saturday and managed to get through 2 Easter services with a breakfast in between. Came home exhausted and slept on the couch! Our Easter dinner got put on hold for a couple days, as I just didn't have any appetite.
   Went to the Doc on Monday (after cancelling a long awaited massage) and have an upper respiratory virus. I took Tuesday off since I was sick all morning long. Can't make any visits or else I will infect the frail and elderly.
   I did make the Tuesday evening Bible Study to finish up the 7 Deadly Sins.
  This Sunday was Joy Sunday and it took everything I had to have the energy to do it. This virus is going to take some time to get over. But it went well, except for the acolyte who fell asleep during worship! Never have I had that happen! I had to really prod him awake for the sharing of the peace!
    Things will be in Easter season mode until May 6th when the Bishop will preach & preside - he's not known for short sermons!
   Then there will be Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday, May 20th. Just two girls this year.
  The Youth (well,, 4 of them) will head to Houston for the ELCA Youth Gathering the end of June,
then VBS when they return. Oh, and the town parade before the Youth Gathering.
   The church has a car show the Sat. before Mom's Day and I just have to put the themed raffle basket together.
   The church roof repair is costing an incredible amount and we are trying to find creative ways to raise money. We did a Lenten Challenge of each day in Lent - 10 cents on day one, 20 cents on day two, thirty cents day three, etc. The last two weeks of Lent were the most challenging. Those who tried it, raised $82.00 in 40 days! We have raised over $2,000.00 through the Lenten Challenge.
Our next push is a raffle ride on the roofing lift to see the town from a bird's eye view. We've even got the Mayor to go up on the lift. It's off to a slow start.
   Any body have any ideas for future fund raisers?
So, there always seems to be something happening.
 Sadly, we have no real Sunday School and young families are lacking. It is a real shame.
  The church participates in most First Fridays which our town is doing to bring people to downtown business. That has gone well. And our monthly free community dinners are going well also and meeting a need.
   All good, blessed and wonderful things.
  Me, I'm just tired. I think it's mostly the virus at this point. Hopefully, this too, shall pass, and I can enter new life before the Easter season is over!
   Spring is late this year. Too much cold and snow or snow flurries. March was like February, and
April has felt like March. Maybe, one of these days, it'll warm up and spring will bust out all over!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

ANOTHER YEAR OLDER

Celebrated or did I, my birthday this past Sunday. So it was a work day, with worship and confirmation class. I did enjoy a nap that afternoon! LH bought me a bouquet of red roses on Saturday and there was a frozen chocolate cake in the freezer which he thawed. We went out for
dinner on Friday night after I cleaned house most of the day and ran two errands.
  Saturday morning I ran to Kohl's since I had a $10.00 free card from Kohl's and bought a new bra!
Not too exciting but practical. I did manage to find birthday gifts for my great-niece and great nephew and even a Christmas gift for him come Dec. I shop all year round and try to get the best bang for my dollar.
  Then had worship Saturday night.
  The best part about my birthday, was the bluebird who sat on the shepherd's hook, that holds bird feeders, in the morning. I hope it portends happiness for the year. Late afternoon, I heard and saw the first redwing blackbird of the season in our birch tree and in our neighbor's maple tree. Sure hope he doesn't regret coming up north this early, even though yesterday was over 70 degrees. It's getting colder even as I write - afterall it's still Feb.
  Today will be the first Lenten service and luncheon. It is a bit rainy/drizzly and grey and about 50 degrees. Hope we get a good turn-out. I fixed up my sermon a bit so it isn't as bad as I perceive it
to be - hopefully!
   As I live into this new year of my life - I pray, that God will provide another position when this
one ends. I pray that I will serve faithfully and with imagination and wisdom and zeal. I find I get more tired after a long day.
   I'm beginning to think about no longer dying my hair as of next year's birthday and go grey. I'm tired of the mess of coloring my hair. But how old will it make me look? Next year, I enter a new decade and my sister will have a biggish birthday - think retirement age or what used to be retirement age. Thinking of ways for us to celebrate - any ideas out there?
   Well, duty calls and I have to set up things for worship. May Lent unfold with blessing to bring us all to new life.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

JUST TIRED THINKING ABOUT IT...

Yup, just thinking about Lent is making me tired this year.
 I have already contacted 4 downtownish churches in town to do a mid-week Lent service and lunch and got them all scheduled - not always a minor feat!
The L church is always host for the 5 weekly Wednesday noon services. I worked up a liturgy to use each week - this would be so much easier if there was a handy resource! I have made a list of hymns (we sing 2 at each service) that could be used. Hard to choose one of the hymns without knowing what the other minister will be preaching on. The theme is Living a Holy Lent. I will focus on living more green. Hopefully, there will be a focus on prayer, generous giving, fasting, etc. Will be interesting to see what they latch onto. I'm hoping the SA will not ramble too long this year. The service is usually about 25 minutes long - so brief messages - and he went on and on and on, preached for about a 1/2 hour and some folks had to get back to work. (And yes, he was told how short the services are!)
  Have put together the Ash Wednesday service which will be held jointly with our Episcopalian neighbors across the large community parking lot. The good father will preach at both noon and 7 pm services. I preached last year. For the Call to Observe a Holy Lent - since it is Feb.14th - everyone will get a post-it heart on their bulletin and write on it their commitment to living in Lent - forgo
negativity, fast complaining, walk 5,000 steps a day, etc. We will gather them and stick them on the altar - a rending of our hearts and not our clothing.
   I burned some palms last Friday since it was such a gorgeous day and have some fresh ash. I still have to order the bread for communion and bring in an extra chalice and a couple napkins to hold the bread. (notes to self!)
   Since the L church has had to do some major roof repair, there will be a church dinner and presentation on the cost still needing to be covered. Thus, was born the Lenten Challenge!
What Lutheran doesn't like their coffee? So, we have coffee cups with lids that will sport a label
with the Lent Challenge and a calendar of Lent beginning with Ash Wednesday as Day 1, Feb. 15th as Day 2, etc. all the way through Holy Saturday. The idea being to put in 1 dime on Ash Wednesday, on Thursday to deposit 2 dimes, the next day 3 dimes, and so on throughout the 40 days.
By the end of Lent it is about $80-$81.00 that has been collected. If 20 people do it, we will have raised $1,600.00 already. I didn't want to make too oppressive because by day 20 and beyond you are putting in over $2.00 & $3.00 a day - but it all adds up. I'm hoping that they'll see how a little can truly add up, engage in generous giving and a Lenten discipline and to live into a challenge. We shall see what happens. One can do the same with nickels or pennies - just a lesser amount.
   I still have to work on my Lenten midweek message. Mulling it all around in my head.
  We are one week away from what will be a very busy and tiring season, but also very full of grace and blessing.
   Have to start working on Holy Week, Easter Sunday and of course, Joy Sunday - the Sunday after Easter. Hmmm...maybe right after I take a quick nap!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, January 11, 2018

LIKE A CRAZY WOMAN

A new year begins and I have been like a crazy woman since our return from our anniversary trip to Grand Cayman. The moment I stepped off the plane, it was insane busy. My first Sunday back was the 2nd Sunday of Advent, meaning Advent was half over!
   There were gifts to wrap and pack in boxes to send. Oh, wait. What boxes? They were filled with china and crystal from the china cabinet and in the family room. I managed to snag two boxes from church and find another in the garage causing the tower of boxes to tumble and then they had to be restacked and the box I was going to use emptied of all the Styrofoam peanuts in it! Nothing is ever easy! Got the three boxes ready to go by spending a couple hours every night wrapping and bowing.
   Snow day on a Tuesday! Church was closed. I wrote my Christmas cards and addressed envelopes for cards and letters. That night they were stamped and ready for mailing.
  The week after we returned, the floor people came to install the wood floor in the dining room. I come home for supper, the floor undone. Seems they had the wrong nail gun. They returned on Saturday and it was a noisy day. I left for worship at 4 pm(thankful to leave the noise and the stink of
wood planks being cut) only to return home around 6:40 pm to find the guys are still there, cleaning up. The floor is in! The door from the house to garage is cracked and broken. It wasn't cracked or  broken when I left, but was now. They denied breaking the door. But no one else used it. Jerks.
Still waiting to hear about our door replacement.
      Two weeks of an Advent Study were completed.
   Fourth Sunday of Advent worship done, and two Christmas Eve services done.
   Slept on Christmas day and did nothing but talk on the phone with family, open presents, and make dinner.
   Tuesday after Christmas the church was closed. Yay! I emptied boxes of china and crystal, washing and drying every piece- service for 12. 12 dinner plates, lunch/dessert plates, soup/salad bowls, saucers, cups, fruit cups and bread plates, serving bowls, platter, 12 beverage crystal glasses, 12 crystal wine glasses, assorted glasses, champagne glasses, items on china display shelves. At least
5 boxes emptied and put in china cabinet. Next two nights - 3 boxes emptied. Leaving one box
of every day ware, service for 8. Most of that is still sitting in a box in the family room.
   Made star words, cut all the replenishment star words for worship. Shoveled church entryways.
Sat. evening worship, Sunday morning worship. A quick nap after lunch. Made cheeseball for family Christmas gathering on Jan. 1st. Was on the verge of brownie making, when the call comes - my sisters-in-law are terribly sick with colds and can't make it. First time in 30 years.
   Make sweet & sour meatballs for dinner (yes, rolling lots of meatballs), clean up and catch my breath.
   Champagne toast at midnight along with heated Panettone.
   On New Year's Day we still made the ham, scalloped potatoes, and simply cooked green beans rather than make the green bean casserole.
   Rescheduled Christmas gathering for Jan. 20th as a luncheon - there will be ham sandwiches and soup served in the dining room using the china and crystal that now sparkles.
   Made sausage bread for the M church lunch bunch. This Saturday will be the L church potluck and another sausage bread.
   One funeral and committal officiated.
   And been contacting other downtown churches to schedule the Lenten Lunches & brief services and left a message with the Episcopal priest for a joint Ash Wednesday service.
   I have been like a crazy woman (not to mention the 3 weeks of cleaning in a row - sometimes just 1/2 day and 1/2 the house so that I still had time to run errands).
   Advent came and went in a flurry of activity and was far from contemplative. I missed that.
   Even this New Year has begun in a less than contemplative way. I pray this does not portend the way this year will go. I need some time and space to breath, to just be. Maybe that's where my star word enters in - TRUTH. Perhaps, I need to honor that truth. My other word for the year is- HOPE.
I hope that the truth is this year, that I won't be a crazy woman like the past month plus! I think God and I can work on that together, one day at a time. Just have to heed God's voice and give God some more of my time.
  May the New Year bring you what you need and may God guide you through each day. Even if sometimes you are like a crazy woman!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

IS IT THE SEASON ALREADY?!!?

Hard to a believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving!
I have already cooked up 2 kinds of rice and made fresh turkey stock. Tonight I will make the stuffing, dessert and spinach dip. That will leave the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy for tomorrow, plus sanitizing bathrooms, putting out towels, cleaning clutter off the kitchen table and back of the couch.
  This will be a more casual Thanksgiving since we'll eat in the kitchen. All good plans go awry sometimes. Our dining room floor is not yet installed. Oh, the flooring arrived 6 weeks ago, but the installer is so busy, we had to wait til after Turkey day - until Dec. 13th.
  In the meantime, all the china and crystal is boxed up and all my large boxes are being used.
 So it will be everyday dishes and flatware for dinner. I did purchase fall leaves placemats to
dress up the plain table. I'm hoping that all will be done and moved back in place for a grand
new year's day dinner in our new dining room!
  Advent begins next Sunday - that short 4 weeks before Christmas. Along with 2 services a week and 2 Tuesday evening Bible studies, there is one potluck Sat. eve at L church, one lunch potluck at M church, 1 staff Christmas party for M church at home of a staff member. It all falls from Dec. 8th-12th. Oh, and the church council bring a treat on Dec. 18th.
  I still have my German Christmas letter to write. Print off both English and German, address and mail them along with Christmas cards.
  I have 3 boxes of gifts to wrap and send for family.
  And...it's our 30th anniversary. We will spend our anniversary on Grand Cayman in the warmth and sun and surf while I try not to think of everything that needs doing that I left behind. Sigh. I hope that I can center and settle my spirit and heart to be in the moment and enjoy this time away with LH.
  In this season of waiting and anticipation, I am going crazy! Deep breaths - breathe out the stress and deep breathe in the peace of Christ.
   This is one of the craziest, busiest Advent seasons ever. And not even our home is a put together
sanctuary of rest and peace.
I trust that somehow by the very grace of God, I will come through it all and everything will get accomplished if a bit late. Prayers are much appreciated!

Friday, October 20, 2017

FUNNY...I DON'T FEEL THAT OLD

Twice in the space of the week, I was reminded that I am near "elderly" and given a "senior" discount. Funny, I don't feel that old yet.
Last Friday, I went to the pharmacy at the local grocery store to get my flu shot. Afterall, I am constantly going into nursing homes, hospitals, and shaking hands on Sat. evening and Sunday mornings. I figured I ought to get the shot. Well, lo and behold, when I asked if the shot was a double strain, I was informed that it was the four strain shot. "When you are 60, elderly, there is a mega
flu shot." Thanks a bunch! Now, I am approaching elderly. Funny, 60 doesn't seem that old anymore and most 60 year olds are an active crowd. I am not there yet. I have more than a year to go. I am not elderly, thank you very much. I am middle-aged. Mature. Well, at least most of the time!
  Then, on Wednesday, I stopped at Kohl's to pick up a rectangular serving dish to put my apple strudel on for my husband to take to the church he serves for the Reformation Dinner & Movie (Rick Steve's The Reformation). I had $15.00 in Kohl's cash and there was a white porcelain FoodNetwork serving tray that was on sale. When I checked out the cashier gave me the "senior" discount of 15%.
The dish cost  me $2.48! I don't know what qualifies at Kohl's for "senior" status - some places it's 55 years and up and others, it's 60 plus. I got it any way. Apparently, Wednesdays are senior discount days at Kohl's. Who knew?
   I don't have gray hair yet. Well...I do, but I color it as close to my natural brown with red highlights. There can be a wee bit of gray at the temples when the dye starts fading. But it's not that noticeable, I think. I'm not full of wrinkles - although I have some - laugh lines. I body lotion my neck every morning so it doesn't look too turkey-like. I know I'm not 40 any more, but really, I don't think I look 60 already. At least not most of the time I look in the mirror. I still feel 45 inside.
I'm not ready to be 60 yet. Give me that year plus to go. I just don't see the 60 look yet.
   The woman who gave me the flu shot was no spring chicken, but the checkout gal at Kohl's was younger. Maybe, I look old to the younger folks. I just don't see myself there yet. Or am I fighting it?
Sigh. I've always accepted the age I am, except when I was younger and always wanted to be older.
I think a person live their age and be proud of it. But this 60 thing is a bit unnerving, maybe worse than 50.
  Well, if they want to give me the discount, I'll take it. But inside I know, I can still be young, and am still middle-aged. I am not yet "elderly." For gosh sakes, elderly is like 80. And I have a lot of living yet to do before then. Good Lord willing.