Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What's in YOUR handbag?

Saw this at St. Casserole's. Thought something fun and light would help break away the stress from last week now manifested in my lower back.
Or maybe its the meds - the muscle relaxers or the pain reliever.

Here's a fun game!

Tell me what's in your handbag! If you don't carry a handbag, tell me what's in your pockets, messenger bag, backpack, auto glove compartment or that fanny pack you won't stop wearing.

Here's what's in my handbag:
eyeglass case
mini brush,
little bottle excederin
cell phone
bulging wallet
2006 weekly calendar
bank envelope with money
St Francis of Assisi card - left over from a children's sermon
2007 Hallmark freebie calendar
pepper packets in the front pocket
a zip drive thingy
an old grocery shopping list
8 pens
Doctor's office receipt (from this morning)
energency vet magnet (with phone number and address)
3 books of matches ( to light Old Folks Home candle for worship)
2 Dew Kiss lip balm by Avon
a magnifying glass,
a lighter
a pocket mirror
1 hand sanitizer packet
6 pepcids (for Small Town Pizza)
packet mini emery boards
mini tape measure
1 wooden beaded finger rosary
my trusty full size Swiss Army knife (tweezers, and corkscrew included - never know when you need to open a bottle of communion wine!)

So that's what really in there. Amazing that I can get it all in such a little purse and not a tote bag, huh?

Although, I was speeding my way through Advent, I have hit a roadblock. At 11:30 am Saturday, my back give me tinge and it was out. Even when Ben cut his back paw while out in the back yard Sat. around 4pm, (on only who knows what since there's only grass, 2 small trees, and one stone in our yard, aside from my small garden), I could not straighten up and rushed him with a profusely bleeding paw wrapped in gauze to the emergency vet. Normally it takes about 15-20 minutes. I made it in 10, breaking every speed limit!! Cautherization didn't work and they had to knock him to stitch the cut. Now, I have to give him antibiotic every day and take him back to the regular vet on Wed. am. (Like I only have a gazillion things to do at the church).
On Sunday, with the children's program the bulk of the service, I didn't have much to do and I did it all hunched over.
On Monday afternoon I had the cleaning service coming to clean my house after a month and having to cancel last week due to an all day funeral. When i called the Doc for an appointment (the pain was just so horrendous), I could either have Mon afternoon (cancel cleaning) or Tues am. I chose to stay in pain til Tues. I did my home remedy stuff and worked on my Christmas Eve service. (Yea! it's done!!)
Slept on couch with heating pad.
Took all of 5 mins for the Doc to look at me and write out the prescriptions. That was 40 minutes after the time of my appointment. Then there was the drive home and to the pharmacy. Had to wait to turn in the prescription, then it was another 20 minutes. I got to the van, took one of each pill with some water and I was on my way to church. The railroad crossing barriers were down with nary the sound of a train in sight and cars lined up. Finally, after 5 minutes, with no train, someone at the box, raised them.
Even when I raced with the car to get to the Doctor's office, to get to the Pharmacy to get to church, I could only go slowly and hunched over, when I walked. It takes 2-3 times longer to do everything, from showering, to dressing, to fixing breakfast or lunch, like I'm moving in slow motion during this very last week of Advent with so much left to do. I fear some visits won't happen til after Christmas.
Now, if I could just stay awake - my eyelids are drooping, the meds must be working.
God, forgive me for rushing through Advent without honoring the time of expectant waiting. Now, I in my slowness remember pregnant Mary's slowness, the slowness of the journey to Bethlehem, the slow dark night of the shepherds out in the field with their flocks. Bless this slowness to me, O Lord, that I may receive more fully your birth, your coming to me this Christmas. Amen.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My Christmas Wish

At this point, I'll settle for a clean house and just a whole extra day to do my laundry and wrap gifts. 2 12 hour days in a row and the whole day tomorrow will be taken up by the funeral. I am so tired today.
I did make it to a parishioner's Tastefully Simple snack party last night. Pretty tasty stuff. I ordered the Garlic Garlic as my early Christmas present. LH will stay away from it as it is really, really garlicky!!!
I did get LH Papal Bull Rub and Kitty My Rib Rub from Old Lutheran.com. We really liked the Kitty My Rib Rub. So, he'll be pleased with that gift.
I'm hoping to make a quick stop to the Pet Store to get the Boys their favorite cookies - they look like Oreo's and sandwich cookies and come in carob, vanilla and peanut butter. I already got them their pupperoni in bacon flavor!!!
What I really want for Christmas is: for God's Spirit to among us and within us as a church to be vital, alive, serving and faithful, that would call up 2 people to serve as Deacons and 1 to serve as Elder. That would not complain when we sing a newer hymn. For some younger families with children to join us as part of Christ's body. for the behemoth pew to finally break or to have casters put on it so it can more easily be rolled for funerals and Bloodmobile. For inspiration and creativity and imagination to have space to be active and flowing.
And I would like a day to just laze about!
What are your wishes for Christmas? Other than peace in the world, our communities and our lives?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Busier Than Ever Advent...

It happened Sunday night. I made my dinner, spinach omlets and toast, cleaned up all the dishes and the cookie cutters from making gingerbread cookies for my dear LH. I get a saddening phone call from an old acquaintance which lasts a bit.Then, I spent two hours in the basement finishing wrapping Christmas presents and packing them properly and addressing them. I came upstairs and finished addressing the few remaining Christmas cards. LH came home from his caroling outing. I made mailing labels for the packages. Finally, sat down to watch the news at 11 pm. After the weather report, I was going to make my way upstairs when the phone rings. This time for me, rather than LH. A parishioner is dying, the family requested my presence. I am so ready for bed after a very full day. I drag myself upstairs and change into a suit instead of my nightgown and 8 minutes later I am out the door at 11:34 pm. I reach the hospital 25 minutes later and found the family and the parishioner (well over 90)would not make it through the night. The two sons did not want to be alone in their vigil. Mom was a tough, strong lady. The night would go on, and on and on. I had the appropriate prayers and scripture reading,we talked. We grew quiet. The sons' eyelids would droop. I visited this parishioner often and she had grown so thin and frail. I wondered whether she would see the end of this year.
It was I who noticed the rhythm of her breathing changed and stopped. The nurse was called in, we had prayer and it was time for the doctor. The one son took off after hearing his mom had passed, just has a hard time dealing with emotional issues. I stayed with the other son while he waited for the death certificate.
I got into the van and drove home in the wee hours of the morning. Traffic was very light!!! I got home at 3:30 and got in bed at 3:45 am! Needless to say, I slept for 6 1/2 hours and didn't get up until 10:30 am.
I hope there won't be too many more of these. There wasn't much I could outside of the prayers and just basically, being there.
The funeral will last most of the day on Thursday. At 9 am the funeral home brings in the casket, which will be open for viewing 1 hour prior to the service. The service will be at 11 am. followed by a luncheon in the fellowship hall. The committal follows the luncheon at 2:30 pm. Thankfully, the committal is short and I can leave from the cemetary from that town.
And this was the day, my house was to be cleaned. Had to cancel because of church schedule problems 2 weeks ago and now again. The house will be dirty for Christmas. We still have a tree to put, string lights on and decorate. I still have the 4th Sunday of Advent sermon, Christmas Eve service to pull together, and the Sunday after Christmas to put together.
You know Edgar Muench's "The Scream", it's really me, in this Advent moment!
I know that God will bring me through. I trust it will be so.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

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

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.
Does Carol of the Bells count, even though I can't sing it?

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

3. Christmas song that makes you want to stuff your ears with chestnuts roasted on an open fire. Dogs barking Jingle Bells. How annoying is that?!!?

4. The Twelve Days of Christmas: is there *any* redeeming value to that song? Discuss. I like that it points out that there is a Season of Christmas which lasts 12 days and isn't merely one day and that's it. I never could keep all the maids milking and lords aleaping and drummers drumming straight.

5. A favorite Christmas album
Mannheim Steamroller, 3 Harps for Christmas, Maggie Sanstone,and Ancient Noel and believe it or not, almost ashamed to admit it: Barry Manilow.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


"He is the image of the invisble God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers, all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together...For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell..." (Colossians 1:15-19)
Iona has often been described as a "thin place" where the material and the spiritual are closely interwoven, where God comes close and the separation between heaven and earth is as thin or thinner than a sheet of paper.
My short time on Iona (an island and ecumenical religious community in the Hebrides of Scotland) this past fall most certainly was a thin place for me. Iona is a place of pilgrimage welcoming and offering hospitality to people from all corners of the world to this little spit of land in the midst of the sea. The people of Iona live close to the land, the sea and the sky, daily dwelling in and honoring the integrity of God's creation.
Why do I bring these images of this remote, isolated, humble, tiny island into the celebration of Advent and Christmas? Precisely, because these echo the images of the story of Christ's birth.
Christmas is a time when those who are deeply involved with the life of the church and those who are on the fringes find themselves making a pilgrimage back to their home towns, back to their families, back to the church where they grew up. And it is there, at the Christmas Eve services, when that oh-so-familiar scripture is read, the timeless carols are sung, and the candles spread their quiet glow; a peace, a hush, a wonder, a love descends and settles down upon us where hope is rekindled within us. This is our thin place where God in Jesus Christ becomes a human being like us, where the love of God reaches deep down into us and becomes real. This is our thin place where eternity touches the temporal, where we believe again that life is good and a gift to be cherished, where wounds, broken hearts and weary souls can be healed and revived, that hope, for us, for the world, truly is possible. This is our thin place where Jesus, becoming like us, shares fully in all the hopes and fears, joys and sorrows of our lives, to let us know that God loves us, forgives us, makes us whole, desires to give us life in all its fullness. And we believe once more that there is no part of life that is beyond the reach of our faith or of God.
In that little town of Bethlehem, after a pilgrimage to register in his hometown, Joseph and Mary, find welcom and hospitality in a humble stable. And there, the Son of God is born and found his welcome in these simple surroundings. The shepherds make their pilgrimage to the place of Christ's birth, humble folks who made their living off the land with their flocks. And they, in turn, are welcomed by the One who welcomes all to him. In this place, in this child, heaven touches earth, the impossible becomes possible, hope is born, peace sings its presence, and a love so holy infuses all of creation. It is palpable; you can touch it, taste it, feel it, hear it and see it.
Christmas is a thin time and to celebrate it together in church becomes a thin place where God comes to us in God's own Son, Jesus Christ, and touches us in the deepest recesses of our being with love, with hope, with peace and with joy far beyond anything the world can offer.
No matter where you find yourself, physically or spiritually this Advent season, may you begin your pilgrimage to Bethlehem. May you find welcome and hospitality there at the manger, in the presence of the Christ child. May the heartbeat of the Eternal become the rhythm of your own heart and may the holy mystery and miracle of Christmas be with you and dwell within you evermore.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Saw this at Vicar of Hogsmeade:

The rules are:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest!

Here goes:
"Consequently, many mainline pastors are divided against themselves. They try to lead by taking a backseat to others. They want to guide their churches to health and growth, but at the same time they fear being seen as manipulative and coercive. Thus, they end up becoming ineffective and eventually cynical when people don't follow them."

Well, stick this in your hat and see what you make of it!!!!
(Becoming a Blessed Church by N. Graham Standish, Alban Institute)
The GTNG Getting-To-Know-You Meme, holiday edition

Welcome to the 2006 Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Ddefinitely, hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? The Elves wrap the presents and Santa puts them under the tree. Santa's too busy checking his list twice to wrap presents.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
We have colored lights on the tree. I like white lights outside, but I also like the colored lights. We have a white twig tree with white lights that we set up and plug in.

4. Do you hang mistletoe on the house?
Yup. It's fake though.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
From now until the week of Christmas. We'll buy the tree this weekend. I'll cajole LH into setting it up one night. Then it sits in the corner for a couple days til the branches drop. Then I coax LH to string the lights on it. It takes one evening to hang ornaments. The next evening to hang the tinsel. The mantle will be decorated this weekend. And all will stay up until after New Year's. The season of Christmas lasts 12 days you know.

6. What is your favorite holiday meal (excluding dessert)?
Pastaetli, a Swiss dish of sweatbreads, veal and 'shrooms in a white cream sauce poured into a pastry shell. Preparing the sweetbreads are alot of work. So sometimes we make it with leftover (frozen and thawed) Thanksgiving turkey and 'shrooms. Tastes great too.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
Christmas Eve when my sister and I would recite a German poem and read the Christmas story from the Bible. We did a mini Lessons and Carols as we both played German and English Christmas carols on the piano and our little family, with sometimes my aunt present, singing away. Then it would be off to the 11 pm service.
Christmas day was for opening up presents, eating a traditional Swiss braided bread with butter, lazing about and enjoying a great dinner. Being together as family.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I was crushed when my Dad told me after my 7th birthday and flung myself on the bed weeping for lost magic. My family reassured me about the spirit of Christmas that exists in all our hearts. And Christmas become more spiritual and filled with the fullness of wonder and mystery. Not a bad trade off. Actually, much, much better!

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Nope. We wait til Christmas Day.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
With colored lights, decorations from childhood and collected over the years, and with tinsel icicles.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
I generally love it. Love to watch it fall, dance and cling. Not to thrilled to drive in it when the roads get snow covered. Sometimes, I even like to shovel it!!!

12. Can you ice skate?
Not really. Never was much good at it, hard to get my balance on that little blade.
I did skate down the church steps two years ago and tore the quad muscle off the knee. I was out for three months! Not quite the way to skate.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
The Lionel electric train from my folks on my 4th Christmas. Still have it. Still works. And the Easy-Bake Oven on my 5th Christmas. Now I use a real oven.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Celebrating well with meaningful worship. Haven't been with my family for Christmas in 22 years, that's the price and sacrifice of being clergy. Have spent part of Christmas Day with LH's family some years. Usually, we're pretty worn out and keep a quiet Christmas Day.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Christmas cookies from parishioners, but mostly I nibble on chocolate!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Since we have no children and we work Christmas Eve as clergy, our one tradition is,
Champagne and Brie on crackers after our last services on Christmas Eve. We usually don't go to bed til well after 1:30 pm.

17. What tops your tree?
A glowing, sparkly star.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving?
Both! I so enjoy shopping all year, including arts & crafts shows, vacation spots for just the right things I know each particular person will enjoy and use. I delight in watching others open their gifts as well! Just as I delight in receiving and opening the gifts given to me.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Joy to the World! (Sung and played up to speed!)

20. Candy Canes!
Not a hard candy liking person. I may have one little candy cane once at Christmas.

21. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Rudolf, the Grinch, A Christmas Story, and even Elf.

22. What would you most like to find under your tree this year?
Peace in the world. Elders and Deacons to serve the church. Shoes that don't hurt my feet and still look nice. That Sheila Fleet ring I saw in Scotland.

23. Favorite Holiday memory as an adult?
Our midnight Champagne, Brie, Cracker time with LH after celebrating meaningful and well-done Christmas Eve services.

Now it's your turn to share!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Friday Five: Adventually

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?
Lighting the Advent wreath each week, blue paraments, singing Advent hymns with a Christmas carol also each week with the 2nd Sunday of Advent, the Children's christmas program on the 3rd Sunday of Advent. In the past, we've registered our hope for Christmas by registering in the direction of our home towns (N,S,E 7 W).

2) How about at home?
The candles are aglow in all the front windows of the house and a simple evergreen wreath on the door.

3) Do you have a favorite Advent text or hymn?
O Come,O Come Immanual, is one of my favorites.

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.)
Oh that's easy: Mary was hoping for a girl!!!!!
5) What's the funniest/kitschiest Advent calendar you've ever seen?
Can't think of one. My grandma would send us one every couple years from Switzerland and we so enjoyed opening up the windows one day at a time, my sister and I comparing what was behind the windows on our calendars. That was way before you could get them here, many, many years ago!!!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I'm Being Humored!
This evening is the annual decorating of the church for Advent/Christmas. After the decorating of the sanctuary, fellowship hall and outside doors, we will have a dinner of sorts. It is the traditional pizza and chips and pop (soda for you non-midwesterners). Appalled by such an unhealthy supper, last year I suggested veggies and dip. I made it and brought it. This year, I suggested it again, and well, there you go, smiles all around the table and the nodding of heads. My veggies and low-fat dip that everyone likes and has not one clue that it's low fat are in the church fridge keeping cool. Who makes a dinner of bland cheezy pizza and potato chips? How greasy, fatty and carbo laden is that? You, know, they did eat some veggies and dip last year. I'm figuring they'll eat some tonight too!
I am far from the poster child of proper eating, but I try very hard, to cook healthy and not neglect the veggies, and of course, not forgetting the chocolate food group.
Will try to prolong the life of the parishioners here with healthy food, since it is such a struggle to bring in new members who aren't baptized or confirmed!!!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

I Promised
I promised while delurking and ran across the Meme at Lutheranchik's that I would do it. So here it goes:

Whats the word

Yourself: quirky
Your partner: persnickety
Your hair: curly
Your Mother: deceased
Your Father: deceased
Your Favorite Item: chocolate
Your dream last night: unmemorable
Your Favorite Drink: H2O
Your Dream Car: Crossfire
Your Dream Home: one level
The Room You Are In: office
Your Ex: never had one
Your fear: bridges over gorges, lakes, rivers,etc
Where you Want to be in Ten Years? at peace
Who you hung out with last night: dogs & LH
What You're Not: frilly
Muffins: Blueberry
One of Your Wish List Items: a winning lottery ticket
Time: lunch
The Last Thing You Did: ate lunch
What You Are Wearing: skirt and shirt
Your favorite weather: fall
Your Favorite Book: To Kill A Mockingbird
Last thing you ate?: Chocolate oreo
Your Life: busy
Your mood: tired
Your Best Friends: live out-of-state
What are you thinking about right now?: a nap
Your car: still new
What are you doing at the moment: typing
Your summer: flew by
Relationship status: a-ok
What is on your tv?: The Weather Channel
What is the weather like: cool
When is the last time you laughed: This morning
Late Again on Monday - RGBP's Friday Five
Black Friday Five

Reverendmother here...

My husband accompanied my brother this morning to stand on line for a Nintendo Wii. They headed out at oh-dark-thirty this morning but were, sadly, thwarted. There were 30 people in line for 6 units. They are trying to be philosophical about it--"That's the most I was willing to do, so I'm OK with it... imagine the people who waited for hours!" my brother said.

So this is a "Black Friday" Five (aka Buy Nothing Day) in honor of the busiest shopping day of the year:

1. Would you ever/have you ever stood in line for something--tickets, good deals on electronics, Tickle Me Elmo? Nope. Waste of my time, deal or no deal.

2. Do you enjoy shopping as a recreational activity? Yes, actually I do.

3. Your favorite place to browse without necessarily buying anything. TJ Maxx, World Market, Pier 1, art shops.

4. Gift cards: handy gifts for the loved one who has everything, or cold impersonal symbol of all that is wrong in our culture? Handy gifts. I can't buy my father-in-law new pants, he has to try them on himself. With the gift card he can get them. Or groceries, like last year. Normally, I give gifts that I've bought throughout the year when I see something special that I know the particular person will enjoy and appreciate.

5. Discuss the spiritual and theological issues inherent in people coming to blows over a Playstation 3. It is oh so sad to see the greed and selfishness that abounds and that our lives are so shallow when such items become our heart's desire and such behavior is less than civilized. What a sad commentary on our 21st century lives, that we allow the retail sector to manipulate our lives.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Just played the RGBP's daily Trivia Challenge and noticed that I actually was in the top 5 yesterday! I can't hardly believe that pokey old me (I have some of the slowest times) made it in the TOP 5!!!!!!!!!
That just made my day. I'm going out to celebrate after I make my visits to the nursing home!!!!!!
Hmmm...maybe there's hope for me yet!
(We'll not mention the pathetic showing of today. For now, I'll bask in yesterday's glory!)
That's the official name of our 19lb turkey this year. LH came up with that one as the cooking marathon has begun accompanied by the endless washing and drying of dishes (well, measuring cups and mixing containers and pots and pans, etc). Did I mention the Girls have to leave early, so I will be washing lots of china, crystal and silverware, and everything by myself? Actually, LH will, (he'd better) help me, at least for a while. Then comes the decarrassing of the turkey. Like a vulture, with a sharp knife I leave no bone with meat and before long, we have a bag of turkey salad meat, and the Boys have a turkey bag for themselves.
Ben and Jett are savoring the smells and already had their first taste of turkey liver. Yup, made the stock last night and cooked rice and wild rice for the stuffing (which will be made tonight along with my pumpkin mousse dessert and a great cheese ball). The potatoes and mincemeat pie will be on the agenda tomorrow along with roasting Tercules. The white wine is chilling and there's a lime with my name on it in the fridge!!!
Thanksgiving is the one holiday we do after our first thanksgiving in the land of Buckeyes and as a married couple. Drove to LH's Dad place at the Resort and Amusement Spot on the Lake and my sisters-in-law made thanksgiving dinner from boxes, cans and jars, except for the turkey which was real. After that, I volunteered and it's going on 18 years now. Have the process pretty much in hand and have mellowed out over the years. I do like to set a nice table with our china, crystal, the gurgling Cod pitcher, and the silverware (gifts from my grandma and godmother every Christmas and birthday for nearly 18 years!). I always have favors and of course, the Ferro Rocher!! It's massive amounts of work but it always looks so nice and tastes so wonderful and I enjoy having the family gathered around the table, which for LH and I doesn't happen too often. (The nights we do have dinner together it always just the two of us and 1 greyhound who likes to stick his beak closer to the plate than he should.) So, I enjoy filling up the dining room table!
This will be Jett's second Thanksgiving with us as he arrived last year just a week or two ahead of the holiday. He's far more curious now as though the smells wafting through the house remind him of his welcome to a new home and a third chance at life. Now, if I can just keep him out of the kitchen and from under my feet, that would be great!!!
My the fragrance of God's love and presence waft through your home and gathering places and mingle with all the wonderful smells of home, tradition, goodness, bounty and love. Savour the goodness of life, and time together. Blessings to all this Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Well, it's not the first time, I've been proven wrong! So there under my last post is the Euphonium! Fiddle-de-de. My van makes a liar out of me at the mechanic's, my dogs make a liar out of me in front of visitors, and LH will make a liar of me from time to time. Just when you think you know it, have the pattern down-pat, something always comes along to trip it up, and there I am proven wrong!!!
Our mystery silent auction update: As of this morning we are at 10 wonderful mystery packages. I'm hoping for a dozen, would be jumping up and down in the pulpit for 20 and absolutely ecstatic for 30!!! I'm happy for the Youth that we have 10 mysterious packages to auction off starting next Thursday evening through Dec. 17th. (One package from far off, may get here late, bad weather) So we may have 11 packages at this time.
The responses from letters or e-mails from a few of the churches have been so uplifting, they seem thrilled to highlight something special in their neck-of-the-woods, and to feel part of a connectional church. WOW! Mission connects and keeps us centered in Christ!
And that's something to lift up in thanksgiving. My spirit sings and my prayers go out to these wonderful churches. Blessing upon blessings be yours! And far more thanks than we can ever say.
Nice to be proven wrong, sometimes!
Thanks to PPB, I tried the Quiz and couldn't get the result to paste.
What's Your Inner Instrument? (at Quizilla)
so, I'm a Euphonium!
Aww! You're so cute! Like a big teddy bear. Shy and quiet. A little bit dorky, but in a good way. You know, the way that attracts girls. *blush*
No wonder I didn't date much in HS - I didn't attract guys!!!!!!!
Too bad this didn't copy properly.

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone whatever your inner instrument is - just sound it forth!
div style="width:300px;_height:250px; min-height:250px; background-color:rgb(216,233,237); text-align:center;">

What is your inner musical instrument?

You're a Euphonium. Aww. SPEAK UP!
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Thanksgiving Delurking Week

There are so very many things in our lives that we can be thankful for. I personally, am thankful for such a wonderful group people represented by the RevGals and BlogPals and our community here online. At Bits and Odd Pieces of Mindy's Kingdom recently, some of us were noticing that there has been a drop in commenting recently. So, in honor of Mindy, Princess of Everything, we are having a Thanksgiving Delurking week! (Please notice the cow; that's for Mindy).

Place this image on your blog and announce Delurking Week, starting today and going until November 26th. 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!

Posted by the reverend mommy at 3:40 PM
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Saturday, November 18, 2006


I just don't quite get it. Buckeyes all across the state are donning scarlet and grey and generally going nuts (pun intended) over the BIG GAME today. The interesting thing is some of the most ardent, colorful, and visible fans are not even alumni. Yup, they never went to OSU. So, how come they are such fans. Perhaps, because OH major league teams have such trouble winning. (The Indians came close a few years ago) So, maybe everyone gets excited over one state team that does win, even if it is a college game.
Call me odd, but growing up outside of Chi-Town, I don't recall any such fan-atic displays over any team. OK, the one year the Cubs were in the playoffs. But nothing like things here in the Buckeye state. It's all football and decorations: personal, home and lawn are all over. It's an interesting phenomenom. Have we no other heros, have we nothing better to stand up and cheer about than football games, players and coaches? Call me a church geek - but what if we were as excited about our faith in Christ Jesus as we are about OSU football? WOW!!!!!!!!! It would be absolutely tremendous and stunning.
What if we, Presbyterians, donned shirts with our logo, hung flags from our porches, had a Presbyterian tailgate party the evening before worship and invited everyone we know to come to the BIG EVENT - Sunday morning worship? What if all the bucks spent on all the game, travel, lodging, tickets, food and paraphenalia actually went to mission? Imagine that! Now, that's something I could understand.
Call me a church geek, if you will. I doubt I'll be watching the game at all, maybe just to get the score so I won't sound out of the solar system in the morning.
In the meanwhile, I'll be imagining a BIG EVENT FOR THE FAITHFUL IN CHRIST!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Five: Giving Thanks

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.

1. My dear LH
2. My sister
3. The congregation which I am serving
4. Our own home
5. My greys - Benny and Jett
Bonus: My health
There's really much more I'm thankful for. Once you start the list really goes on and on!!!

Monday, November 13, 2006


Here it is Monday, November 13th and in two weeks and three days we will be holding our Youth Spaghetti Dinner. This is an annual fund-raiser for our youth's mission trip which will be this coming summer 2007. (to Appalachia)
This year we've added a Mystery Silent Auction to the dinner and the Holiday Festival going on in the community, knowing more folks will be in our building.
The Youth sent out letters to 85 churches across the country (including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico)asking for a donation of an item or items indigenous to their area of the States or region to be auctioned off for this Youth Mission Trip. Bidding begins at the price of postage. Our church and youth would be willing to do the same for another church.
Well, we received 4 packages in the last week and a half. I had hoped for 25-30 packages, hoped for God to blow me away with 50 packages and now I'm wondering whether we will even have a dozen packages to auction off. So, here I stand, 'twixt doubt and belief that we will receive enough packages to hold the auction. It will be a looong two weeks!!!! And my prayers will be most ardent.
I even put a map of the USA on a board with pushpins to pinpoint the origin of each and every donation received, just as a no-sxtra-charge geography lesson!!!
Each donating church will receive a thank you now and a picture postcard of our Youth on their mission trip, later.
Your prayers added to ours would be appreciated.

Those of us who are in the United States have just been through quite a topsy-turvy
election. During the campaign we heard a fair amount about red states and blue states, when in fact most of us live in some shade of purple. And so... a lighter look at those confounding colors:

1. Favorite red food
Tomatoes and raspberries, but not necessarily together!

2. Tell us about the bluest body of water you've ever seen in person.
Off the Isle of Iona. The milky turquoise of a Swiss mountain lake.

3. It's movie rental time: Blue Planet, The Color Purple, or Crimson Tide?
The Color Purple

4. What has you seeing red these days?
Anyone who could abuse a child or treat anmals cruelly.

5. What or who picks you up when you're feeling blue?
LH, The Greys: Benny and Jett, Mannheim Steamroller, a piece of Swiss chocolate and a glass of cold skim milk.

Dare I tempt the all-too-temperamental Blogger by inviting folks to link?
what you want the link to say

If you're not feeling that daring, at least tell us the name of your blog, if it's not the same as your username. And we'll do our best to stop by!

Posted by reverendmother at 7:20 AM

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Great Cloud of Witnesses

Did anybody ever read that article in the Stewardship materials (PCUSA) that contained that questionable unmentionable item which caused the denomination to republish the magazine with a totally different article?
I confess, when I read it in September I near fell off my chair. I originally thought, perhaps, I'd reproduce it for our newsletter. I don't think so!! It was shortly after that when I read on the website that the PCUSA was republishing the magazine. Good thing!!!
So, this Sunday, I went with the great cloud of witnesses theme for my stewardship sermon (since we don't pledge here, it's always a challenge doing stewardship). While on Iona, there was plenty time to be with God, I was praying about this stewardship sermon. And in that time spent with God, and sea and clouds, the Spirit sparked imagination. Clouds!
So, I had a teacher who is good in art, make a cloud for me. (I tried to draw one and it looked like a sick amoeba - truly pathetic) I, in turn, copied enough for everyone Sunday morning and yes, spent a couple evenings cutting them out. Every bulletin on Sunday came with cloud.
Then at the end of the sermon, we all filled in the names of those saints who inspired us in or were examples of faithful living, and good stewards, and also to include our name, for we also are saints and an example of faithful living to someone else. (Also, brings up the question, what example of faith are we being to someone else?)
Then the ushers went around with bits of masking tape so people could tack their cloud around the sanctuary. The ushers also tacked up the clouds of those for whom leaving their seat would be too difficult.
The grace of all this was, that people did it! One of our elders jumped up with his cloud to hang it above a doorway! One of our members who very rarely comes to church (and it happens to be stewardship!!) with her son (a teenager) who is probably only there Christmas Eve, after worship, jumps up to put his cloud higher up than the elder's. Another elder, who was leading Children's church during worship, mentioned he missed being to take part. There are extra clouds set out and the roll of masking tape in the pulpit for those who missed last Sunday. We'll keep those clouds up until Advent and let them visually surround us and inspire us in the living of our faith.
Now, God, we're getting close to Advent and Christmas....
What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

And, of course, I call soda, pop! True midwestern-great-laker that I am!!!!!!!!!!!!

I didn't think the quiz would be accurate, but I've been proven wrong before. Just something to do while mulling over the December newsletter article. Guess, I need more time to let it simmer.

There are times when I would prefer not to write a newsletter article. Sometimes divine inspiration isn't as timely as I would like!!!

Maybe, I'll just start on the Advent Candle Lighting Liturgies and the season will become closer and inspiration will come. One can only hope!

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Speaking of braces and teeth, share your thoughts on the following:

1. The Tooth Fairy - The tooth fairy always came and put a quarter
or 50 cents under my pillow. Does this date me?

2. Flossing - should do it, usually forget. I do floss from time to time,
just not regularly.

3. Toothpaste brands - been a CREST girl all my life. Haven't had too
many cavitities. Am trying the Pro-health Crest
brand now, still getting used to it.

4. Orthodontia for adults - if you have the money to do it and it really
bothers you, go ahead. My teeth are me
and don't need to be perfect.

5. Whitening products - I've tried the Crest Whitestrips, and I liked
them. It's about time to use them again!

My only hope is to be able to keep my teeth 'til I die!!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Faithful Artist
To add this map to your website or blog, copy/paste this HTML into the body of a blog post or web page:

Faithful Artist
To add this map to your website or blog, copy/paste this HTML into the body of a blog post or web page:

Some sites (LiveJournal, for instance) do not allow 'script' tags. Users of those sites are welcome to the copy full HTML of their personal DNA maps here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Quick Poll

So, here's my poll:
How many of you, dear Clergywomen, please note if you are in full-time position, have help (cleaning person/people) in cleaning your house?

Last Thursday, yet once again, LH complains of the cleaning people coming to clean the house. I am tired of his tirades and so am conducting this informal poll. Here is the week in review:Sat. Oct 14th - Up early, for today is Presbytery at town I used to live in and is over an hour drive. Arrive at 9:59 am, register and the meeting begins. Break for lunch and then more Presbytery stuff. Leave at 2:15 pm to drive home. LH's church has their annual Hay Ride and I Must be there. Get home, let dogs out and change into grubby and warm clothes. It's cold and the bonfire will be smokey. Leave for Hayride and finally get home after 8:30 pm. Go over my sermon, prayers, etc for Sunday. Fall into bed and oblivion.
Sun. Oct 15th - taught Sunday School Sr. & Jr. Hi together, led worship, ran to store to get name badges for upcoming Synod Retreat, grabbed a lite lunch. Women's Tea at churchh from 2 pm- 4 pm. Got home after 4:30 pm.
Monday: 9am at church helping women stir mincemeat for 1 1/2 hours. Run to funeral home for service of brother of parishioner, while funeral procession is getting all in order, I run to post office and drop fundraising letters in mailbox, fall into the procession to committal. Have to attend funeral lunch, goes too long. Head back to office, work on my Pastor's report for Session meeting, go out for quick dinner and to clear my head.
Worship committee meets at 6 pm. As we finish, Session members arrive for 7 pm meeting. Have a guest at Session. Good, open discussion over issue. Try to wrap up discussion twice and off it goes again. Finally, wrap it up and go on to the rest of agenda. Get home 10:30 pm, exhausted.
Tuesday - Get up the usual 6:45 am, in the office by 9 am, put the service for Sunday together, all the things I didn't get to on Monday. Made a couple visits in the afternoon. Get home in time to make dinner, clean up afterwards. Look through mail, give greys biscuits, and fall asleep on the couch! Missed the news and the weather.
Wednesday - same as Tues. Get message that an inactive member dies. Call family. Have a preacher in family by way of marriage who they want to give message. Finish items for Sunday am, pull together last minute things for Synod Retreat. Get call from funeral home, arrangements made. Meet with family and local preacher. Get back to church, eat my lunch, start putting service together. Local preacher comes, we go over a few things. Finish putting the service together. Make a visit. Order pizza for Boy Scout and mentor to finish our God and Family program, pick up the pop (soda). At 6t:35 pm, go pick up pizza, arrive back to church, and meet with Boy Scout, summarizing program and having a dinner of heart-burn city and about a 3 on the pizza scale (1o being best- I'm from Chicago, what can I say! Very few pizza's come close to Chicago's!). Get home after 8:30 pm due to a deluge of rain where I could barely see the country road in the black wetness, had to drive much slower. Fall asleep on the couch and miss the news again!
Thursday - Same as day before. Go into church office, go over things
with Secretary. Move the monstrous pew (which is on our prayer list - hoping it will break - pews are sometimes far too sturdy!) and a few other pews for the funeral service Friday morning what was to be my day off.
Get home around noon. Feed dogs and self. Plop down at the computer to write sermon, get started, don't like it, start all over. Cleaning people come. LH pouts and goes into his tirade of am I ever going to get rid of these cleaning people and clean house again myself. I explain that weeks like these are precisely why we still have cleaning people. He is totally unconvinced.
Finish sermon, prayers, run to grocery store for dinner items. Make dinner, clean up, put together funeral service prayers, etc.
Fall asleep on couch. Drat, have I missed the news again?!!?
Friday - get up usual time. No sleeping til 8 am this week. Get to the church 2 minutes after nine and the funeral hearse is already there. Viewing is one hour before the service at 10 am. Family begins arriving. Women in kitchen with food. Run back and forth. Go over items with local pastor, have prayer with family. Officiate the funeral service, walk down to cemetary, co-lead the committal, back to church to say grace for lunch. Stay for lunch. Leave as soon as I can and get home around 3:30 pm. Run a couple errands. Come home, fall asleep on the couch. Make dinner, clean up. Sit and kinda relax with the TV - not even anything worthwhile on the TV.
Saturday- 5:20 am alarm goes off. I stagger into shower. Downstairs, I let the dogs out, make coffee and a bagel. Dogs want breakfast, I tell them it's too early. Arrive at the church 6:50 am, for the Church Breakfast and Bazaar. Sausage is sizzling, coffee is brewing and I wish I was still in bed. Give the opening prayer and then begin serving breakfast til after 11 am. Buy a couple things at Bazaar, slip into the office to make out the two baptismal certicates for Sunday. Go home. Feed the dogs. Take a nap on the couch. Get up, down in the basement for Art Supply box for Synod retreat and a couple trips down into our huge storage room of a basement to get other items and duffle bag to pack. Pack my clothes, and stuff (folders, name tags, etc.). Pack everything into van. Pack a change of clothes and shoes in the van. Go over everything for Sunday morning. Crawl into bed.
Sunday- 6:45 am and off I go. Co teach Sr/jr Hi class. Led worship, with sacrament of baptism. Attend baptismal lunch at church following worship. Slip into the bathroom and change from clergy duds to travel duds. Off to Columbus for Synod retreat and will return Tuesday suppertime.
Now I ask you, just when was I supposed to clean house?!!!? Am i that out of line to have help cleaning the house? Let me know, please!

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


1. Comfort beverage: A cup of rich, steaming hot chocolate with
mini marshmallows floating on top.

2. Comfort chair: Actually the right corner (if you're facing it) of the
couch. I lived on that couch nearly three months
after tearing the quad muscle off my knee. I have
three pillows piled in strategic places. It's just a
matter of being able to commandeer my space
from the Greys who also like the same spot!
3. Comfort Read: A novel. Still finishing up one from vacation.
4. Comfort TV/DVD/Music: Vicar of Dibley DVD's, Fiddler on the Roof,
Mannheim Steamroller, or Classical
5: Comfort companions: Of course, LH. And then there's the Greys;
Benny and the Jett. They can comfort anyone
because they both like to stroked and hugged
and even smootched!
As the snow has fallen in Buffalo and the cool rains wetten everything, what are your creature comforts?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Images of Iona -
a spit of land amid the wind and waves
rocky, craigy, moss and grass-covering eon-aged rocks
ever-changing sea and sky
not much here but wind, sheep, God and one's self.
This little spit of land ~ where people gather from
all corners, places in the world, seeking God's presence,
to be touched by the love of Christ, to be neighbor.
Here in this remote place tamed only by farm fences.
This is not a place to be tamed, but a place where you learn
to live with the landscape, the geography - wind, sea, and the constantly morphing weather.
The journyey is long - but there is welcome.
The weather can be harsh - but the walls are sturdy.
Nothing is easy about living here and yet, there is an enormous peace
to this little spit of land.
This is Iona. You come not by chance, but by intention.
You do not just happen upon Iona. You must seek Iona out.
Once there, Iona will forever be with you and a part of you, wherever you on earth you call home.
Sacred spaces have a way of filling the empty places in our lives, even if it is just a little spit of land.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Home Again!

LH and I are back safe and sound after our trip across the pond. It began hectic enough but slowed to a nice finish even if we did get a nasty cold bug.
Things I Enjoyed Most About our Trip to Scotland:
1. Iona
2. The every changing sky and sea
3. The people we met at Macleod Center
4. The resources at the Gift Shop
5. St. Giles Cathedral
6. Haggis
7. Bangers and Mash
8. Oban
9. Loch Ness - sans monster (although saw several fiberglass versions!)
10. Culzean Castle
11. Robbie Burns' Cottage
12. The Paisley Abbey
13. the silk-blend sweater I bought
14. LH not getting into an accident while driving on the left
or going around a gazillion rotaries!
15. Comfortable bed in our cottage in Ayr
16. Slipping into England on a gorgeous day to see Hadrian's Wall
(or the bits left of it and the Roman ruins)
17. A hot toddy with some great Scotch
18. Sheila Fleet
19. The young man in formal highland dress in Perth
20. The thistle mug I brought back
21. The hanging baskets of flowers still blooming
22. The quaint placemats
23. Finding a great place to eat out of the blue.
24. The mist and the fog
25. The lovely brogue

As much as I enjoy going away, I am always ready to be back at home and in my own bed! Finally finished the piles of laundry and replenished the fridge. Been catching up at the church and thankfully, no major emergencies occurred while I was away. Was able to ease into Sunday morning since Jr. & SR Hi merged their SS class for a study on the Chronicles of Narnia. The Sr. Hi teacher is teaching it. But I get to return the favor this week, while he is gone.
The Mon. AM Women's Bible Study is on a field trip, which I didn't need to attend and so this has been a gentle way to begin anew! I feel ever so blessed and graced to have enjoyed such a great vacation and to come back and ease my way back into rhythmn. Naturally, it all picks up steam from here for the next two weeks, so I'll just savour the moment.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Vacation Adventure...

Never fails, everytime we go away on vacation, I always think of some things I'll miss:
1. My Greys, Ben and Jett.
2. Playing the daily Trivia on RGBP even though I am as slow as
molasses. How do folks read through the questions so fast?!!?
I know my rhythm is slower, I just didn't think I was cart and
buggy slow. But everyone seems to be Ferrari Fast!
3. I confess. I will miss the Season Premier of Desperate Housewives.
4. My ripening tomatoes. Hope there's still some left when we return.
5. My bed.
6. Talking with my sister.
7. Keeping up with all the RGBPs.

Things I won't miss:
1. Writing a sermon!!
2. Hospital/nursing home visits!!!!!
3. Committee meetings!!!!!!
4. Women's meeting!!!!!!
5. Cleaning house!!!!!
6. Feeding the humingbirds, bluebirds, greyhounds
and husband!!!!
Well, I'll still have to feed the husband while on vacation, since he'll be with me!!!
Well, Gals, I'm off across the Pond headed for the mists and fog of the land of Scots and the Isle of Iona. I'll be off-line for 2 full weeks, soaking up a different culture, making space for God, and looking for more signs-along-the-way. LH and I are ready to brave driving on the opposite side of the street, wish us well. Let be known, that we drove around Florence, Italy for four solid hours trying to find our hotel. That was driving around the old part of Florence for at least 2 hours and then driving around in the old part for almost 2 hours. I do not joke. I do not kid. I am not proud of this at all!!! So, we'll see what awaits us on this vacation adventure.
In the meanwhile, God's peace be with each and all of you.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Simple Things: Name five things you enjoyedd this week:

1. LH's 50th birthday celebration on Sunday with my sister and brother-in-law, LH's Dad and twin sisters. Time together, champagne toast, wonderful dinner out, great birthday cake!

2. My sermon came together in record time! Yeehaw!!!
3. The last of my stash of Fat Tire beer.
4. Massaging my pair of Greys.
5. The blissfully cooler weather and sunshine.

BONUS: How could I forget the reddish-burgandy purse I found yesterday?!!? It doesn't match a thing I have but it so caught my eye. All my purses are practical beige, brown and black. So, I felt very girly and look forward to using it this fall. Now that's a simple enjoyment!!!

Go ahead and name the 5 things YOU enjoyed this week!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


LH was indeed surprised when my sister and husband rang the doorbell at dinnertime having just flown in from the Windy City. I pulled out the defrosted Italian Sausage hidden in the bottom of the crisper under a bag of tortillas.
Although, LH was mildly anxious/stressed over the gathering, he did settle in and enjoy the gathering of family, champagne toast, the reading of the lame little B-day ditty, opening of gifts, wonderful dinner at the Best Restaurant in Town, and the traditional birthday cake afterwards at home.
I even managed to find the bobble Hula girl as I was looking for something else. Didn't find the something else, but found the Hula Girl who was in hidden in a bag I looked through three times. Don'tcha know it!!! I will find the something else when I go looking for the other thing.
So, it was a wonderful gathering and a birthday worth celebrating. LH now joins the 50 and Over Club!!!!
Me? I've got some time before I join. And I'm in no hurry to get there!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I am a prayer partner for a colleague of mine, friends since Sem days and all the trials and ord exams we suffered through together. His latest ministry is the challenge of new church/church redevelopment. Into this mix, rears the ugly head of a retired pastor who is constantly a "thorn in the flesh".
Having served as an interim in several congregations in over a decade, I have run into this time and time again. The ominious presence of a retired pastor.
Perhaps, precisely because I have served as an interim, I have learned the spiritual lesson of letting go, of knowing I am called to serve a community of faith that has been around (for ages) before me and who (by God's grace) will be around long after me. I join with others in the midst of their spiritual journey and mine because God has brought us together for his good purpose. When it is time for me to leave, I pray, that I will graciously take my leave of my brothers and sisters in Christ, entrusting them to new leadership and ever to God's care.
Leavetaking is difficult and a hard process especially when the relationships have been mutually loving, and a great match. But, I remind myself, that in the end, my time is always temporary, even in an installed position. It's also not about me, but God. It's not my agenda (or at least, a very tiny piece, if I'm honest), but God's. It's what God is doing and will be doing with them. I need no memorial to my ministry. I don't need to say, "I accomplished this or that while I was pastor." It's not what I do, it's what God does and is doing. What is success in any pastor's life anyway? Certainly, not measureable by the world's standards.
I pray I will live to see retirement and that I will not interfere in any way any church that I attend and of which I will be a part. It is not MY church, ever. It belongs to God and the people God has called and invited to be that particular community of faith. I pray that retired pastors can honor the well-being of a congregation that they have loved and served, that they would honor what God is doing through the leadership of another, even when you don't agree with them. I repeat, it is not YOUR church!!!!!!! If you love the people and God whom you have served so well, ably and faithfully, you will let go and trust in God's good work through others. Celebrate with them new adventures in discipleship and new ways of being the body of Christ. For their health, well-being, and good, move away, find another church to attend and be part of offering in gently, non-threatening ways your gifts or skills. Do not keep socializing and making regular visits with former parishioners - the new pastor needs to build those relationships. Decline doing funerals and weddings, except in extreme instances after following protocol and with the present pastor's full knowledge and invitation.
It is a spiritual lesson for us all, to learn to surrender to God and to let go of those things to which we cling too closely. Pray for a spirit that is willing to surrender. Pray about what you most cling to and why that is.
Honor your service to God and God's people by not interfering or being a"thorn in the flesh". And thank you, for your love, care and gifts with which you served that particular community of faith.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


1. Driving: an enjoyable way to clear your mind? a means to an end?
a chance to be quiet with one's thoughts? a necessary evil?
the downfall of our planet and its fossil fuels? Discuss.
I do enjoy driving for the most part. Sometimes, I will drive a bit
to clear my mind, create space between shut-in visits, and often my
commute or little drive during the day also is some of my prayer
Yes, driving sometimes becomes a means to an end and a necessary
evil when I'm in a hurry, have to get somewhere I'm not thrilled
about going or am dealing with orange barrels and construction or
am stuck in traffic. Not too much of a problem here.
Here it is 2006 and all the Weekly Readers I read in Elementary
school said that by now we would live more space-agey and have
little hover crafts or Jetson-like crafts. I'm waiting....I'm still
driving a mini-van dependent on gas. So where's my hover craft?

2. Do you drive the speed limit? A little faster?Slower? Have you ever
gotten a ticket?
Yes, I usually drive speed limit and shade faster (5 mph over limit).
LH usually drives just under the speed limit because limit means
limit, which you are not to exceed. Yes, I've gotten a couple of
tickets, in Indiana, in Ohio. Been fortunate in that I haven't had
a speeding ticket in several years. Did get a parking ticket in IL
while parked by a church during Synod Assembly. Had to show
up in court and it was thrown out.
3. Do you take public transportation? When? What's your opinion of
the experience?
Not possible here in the country. I suppose I could take a horse
and buggy ride but that would really lengthen my 17 mile
I did take the bus to HS and it was fine. I've ridden the Bus and "El"
while in Seminary. And I never was mugged. That happened in
Sem parking lot!!!!!!
4. Complete this sentence: ______has the worst drivers I've ever
Let's see, that would be Florida or Italy. They can be soooo slow
in Florida and sofast in Italy, course in Italy you're contending with
Vespas and motorcycles, bicycles, cars, and trucks on narrow
streets, one way streets, piazzas, and just try to find a parking
space in Florence, I dare you!!!!
5. The city with the 6th longest average commute is 29 minutes. How
does your personal commute rate?
Well, I'd be pretty close with 25 minutes, unless I get stuck behind
a farm tractor, retiree tourists heading to Amish Land, or an ODOT
truck spray painting the yellow lines down the middle of the road!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Birthday Bash Progress

We are a small family and so big splashy gatherings are not our forte.
At present, I have pretty much completed the scrapbook/photos with LH brother's comments and a few of mine sprinkled in. The lame b-day ditty is in progress and nearing completion.(Hurray!!!) The cake and balloons will be ordered Friday. Some cleaning and vacuuming on Thurs. after dinner when LH is at a meeting. Can't make it too sparkling, he'll get suspicious. LH keeps pestering me about the sun, moon and stars cheese packs in the fridge. I keep responding that they're for the holiday, for us.
Still wondering how to defrost the extra pound of Italian sausage for Sat. evening dinner without him seeing it in the fridge. (Maybe the bottom crisper drawer). Restaurant reservations have been made for Sunday dinner. My sister and bro-in-law will be arriving in time for Sat. dinner.
Party favors made - mini clear plastic beer mugs filled with yellow M & M's and cotton ball top. (LH's favorite beverage).
Still to do: 1. Wrap his presents.
2. Finish lame ditty.
3. Grocery shop for company (breakfasts, lunches)
4. Find bobble Hula Girl I bought, which I stuck away
right before vacation, thinking he'll never look there.
I've been through every bag and box in the basement
and haven't been able to find it in two weeks. I should
never hide things. I do it so good, I can't even find it
5. Make sure I have all the decorations in one place.
6. Clean off kitchen table. Last thing to do on Sat.
He'll know something's afoot when the kitchen table
no longer has mail, newspapers, Presbyterians Today,
and The Outlook, stacked on it.
I'm trying my best to be calm and nonchalant about this weekend.
Hope I succeed in surprising him and LH not getting bent out of shape about being surprised. It's all in good taste and fun. Hope LH enjoys "Cruisin' into the 50's"!! Just too bad I couldn't locate a Hot Wheels car in a 1956 model. Now, if I could just finish that "The 50th Birthday Inquisition" (otherwise known as lame b-day ditty) I would feel so much better.

1. What is your earliest memory of school?
That would be walking across the street with my sister to school.
Playing duck-duck-goose during recess.

2. Who was a favorite teacher in your early education?
I don't know that I had a favorite. I liked most of my teachers,
except for third grade, Mrs. Cox. My 7th grade teacher, Mrs.
Jelnick was really nice. Mr. Bepko was a hoot, a navy man with
buzz cut. We played a game called railroad. You didn't ever want
to be the caboose, so you had to learn lines from Shakespeare or
who said the line and various others bits of trivia.

3. What do you remember about school "back then" that is different
from what you know about schools now?
No computers!!! Slapping erasers together out the window to clean
the dust chalk off of them. Our parents believed the teachers over
their kids. If you got in trouble in school, there was more to come
at home.

4. Did you have to memorize in school? If so, share a poem or song
your learned?
Well, the Times Table. The Pledge of Allegence.

5. Did you ever get into trouble at school? Were there any embarrassing
moments you can share?
I've done embarrassing things my whole life!!!!!
First grade: The teacher has had it with us. Tells us not to talk until
the bell rings. One boy walks up to the front to use the pencil
sharpener. On his way back to his seat, he whispers a question to me.
Being dutiful, I answer his question. Teacher is furious. I plead that
I only answered the question. Teacher said, I should've remained
quiet. I get sent to stand in the corner with flaming red cheeks of pure
mortification. Try to cool the burning cheeks on the cold walls. Vow
not to speak of this at home. My girlfriend's sister is my sister's best
friend. She tells her sister who tells my sister who blabs it to my
folks. Yikes! I get a talking to. What happened to the boy who spoke
first and asked the question - zip, nada, nothing!!!! And the teacher,
was also my Sunday School teacher. I became very quiet in the class
room from that time on through Seminary and beyond.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Nice way to start the week (actually my week really started yesterday, Sunday) with getting a temporary crown. I arived at the church office hoping I wasn't drooling all over. Now that the novacaine is wearing off, I feel some pain. Maybe, today is not a day to do a lot of talking!!!!
Aside from visiting the sick and homebound, working on our Blessing of the Animals service for this coming Saturday (before The Fair) and each Sunday service and sermon, I am also planning a Birthday Dinner Celebration for LH who turns 50 in Sept. I was to put a ditty together and it has fallen woefully short of even low expectations. Back to the drawing board. Still have to put the scrapbook together with reflections from his siblings and order the cake.
Fortunately, we bought 1/2 case of champagne when we traveled to Princeton in February for a Con Ed class. It is very good champagne and doesn't give me a headache like some, it is real champagne and tastes wonderful and bubbly. So a bottle can go in the fridge over Labor Day Weekend when my sister and bro-in-law fly in Saturday. So far it is all secret and the surprise intact until 1 week from Sat. I keep hoping I won't let something slip out like, "Let's make that when S and H are here!"
He hates surprises. He has guessed many of his Christmas and birthday presents with an uncanny ability to suggest getting some item which I already purchased as his gift. He has already guessed one (a DVD). How utterly like him to say, "I see this movie is finally out on DVD, maybe we should get a copy." Then I have to say, "Yes, I know, but don't go ordering it off of Amazon." And then he knows. One year, we both gave each other the same DVD. Two like minds!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday afternoon I spent on Presbytery work with a congregation. Not a good situation, but the process was hopeful and empowering, and it was rather well-received. I feel for the congregation and even the pastor (who needs much professional help). Thank goodness we have such a gifted and competent EP.
Well, back to planning liturgy and working on my animal sermon.
I may be a bit sketchy in my blogging with all before me.
Just hope the pain won't get too excruiating as the day wears on.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


In the midst of my 11 hour day yesterday, LH calls and suggests that he come down into the country for dinner at the Renowned Dariette here in town. I gave an enthusiastic "yes"!
The problem with commuting to church is not being able to go home for lunch or dinner. So, I pull some 10-12 hour days and hardly see LH or The Boys (my sweet pair of Greys who hang all over me when I eventually do get home too tired and drained to do much of anything).
So, my dear LH drove down and picked me up at the church where the Bloodmobile was in progress. I saw his car pull in and joyfully announced that my Dinner Date had arrived! We drove to the Dariette, ordered our less than healthy meals and sat down on at a picnic table beneath a tree. It was a lovely evening about 78 degrees with blue sky, sunshine and a slight breeze. We ate and talked and watched the traffic on the HWY. Every once in while a horse and buggy would go by; more than I have seen in awhile. After our sandwiches we went up to order dessert - chocolate soft serve for me, vanilla-chocolate twist soft serve for LH. The ice cream is really good and this place enjoys quite the reputation for its tasty treats.
What a grace to be able to share dinner together! How good it was not to eat alone and to see LH. I know he felt the same. Although, I suspect that he didn't really want to eat a microwave dinner!!!!!!!
Too soon, I had to leave to lead the worship service at the Retirement Home and LH went home to feed The Boys.
A nice little interlude in an otherwise long and busy day and something to savor in my day.

Monday, August 07, 2006


I've been tagged to share 10 things about books. So here it goes:

1. One book that changed your life?
Hmm...they all touch and change my life. One that stands out
is Praying Our Goodbyes by Joyce Rupp. Although most of what she
wrote was not new, it was the way she put it and I appreciated the
prayer exercises in the very dark time of my life.

2. One book that you've read more than once?
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Just re-read it a couple
years ago. One of my favorites as well as the movie.

3. One book you'd want on a deserted island?
Naturally, the Bible. However, if I could have a book besides the
Bible, perhaps, the collected works of Mark Twain would be
entertaining and engaging.

4. One book that make you laugh?
Lake Wobegan and it's sequel by Garrison Keillor.

5. One book that made you cry?
Ragman and Other Cries of Faith by Walter Wangerin, Jr. His
writing moves me and resonnates with me like no other. And he
is just as authentic and genuine in person as in his writings.

6. One book you wish had been written?
All The Things They Don't Teach You In Seminary!

7. One book that you wish had never been written?
I'm not sure. Probably, instructions for building bombs.

8. One book you're currently reading?
A Light From Heaven by Jan Karon.

9. One book you've been meaning to read?
Which one? I've a whole stackful!!! One is The Deeper Journey, by M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.

10. Now tag 5 people to do this Book Meme.
Since I'm not sure how to do this, please bear with me.
Sighh...since I don't know how to link here are my tags:
Cheesehead in Paradise, Quotidian Grace, Will smama, Hazelnut Reflections and Lutheranchik. Hope you all can join in.

Bonus: One book I just finished reading?
The Hidden Messages in Water
by Masaru Emoto
One book I need to read?
How to do this webring stuff!!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Speaking of Hot...

1>What's the high temperature where you are?
84 at the Beach, it was 90 inland

2. Favorite way to beat the heat?
Home in the air-conditioning, here at the Beach on Lake Michigan in WI with family,
in a private pool with a long, cool drink
getting a pedicure like we, my sister, niece and I did on Friday

3. "It's not the heat but humdity" - evaulate:
Since it's humid where I live, it becomes hot 'n sticky.
I've been in Rapid City ND on a 103 degree day - a dry heat, still felt
like an oven. Hot is hot, it's just humidity makes it sticky.

4. Dicuss the following: sauna, hot tub, sweat lodge, hot stone massage?
I'll hot tub but not in the heat. I've never had a hot stone massage but would try it.

5. What's the hottest you've ever been?
Dawson City, Yukon - it may have only been in the upper 80's but humid in
a tired, worn-out, dusty little town with nary a breeze and where nothing Switzerland same
weekend - no air-conditioning and drinks with no ice. Ughhh...

Bonus: Who's hot?
LH - my husband, Sean Connery when he was a bit younger, Mel Gibson

Monday, July 24, 2006


Last week, on my commute to the church (about a 25 minute drive), I spent some of that time in prayer. Lately, I haven't been feeling all that useful in my ministry. You wonder if folks are really hearing your sermon, you visit the homebound or those who are chronically or terminally ill and hope that some word, a prayer, your presence helps in any way. So, my quick prayer (along with praying for others) was, "O Lord, make me useful to you today."
I gave no further thought to that little bitty prayer and went about all the tasks requiring my attention that morning. Late in the morning, while our community toddler play group was meeting, I heard someone in the hallway. I went into the hallway to see this gauntly thin, grizzled, 40+ man, dressed humbly in a faded T-shirt and old, worn jeans that were clean, who I knew would be looking for a handout. He looked like he was/had been a meth user. But I saw no indication that he was impaired or under the influence at this time.
He explained his situation that he was on his way back to the East Coast from Nebraska and needed gas. I said he could follow me to the gas station in town and the church would pay for the gas. His license plates were from Nebraska. At the gas station, as if to prove his need and he were genuine, he showed me the needle on his gas gauge was on E. It took a bit over $50.00 to fill the gas tank in the old white 4 door sedan. In the back seat were a couple bags of clothes and an old blanket. He had been sleeping his car while making this journey.
He never asked for any extra money or cash. When I inquired if he wanted some food or something cool to drink, he declined saying he had a bottle of water. I paid for the gas. He thanked me. I wished him well on his journey and said a prayer in my heart for him and off he went, heading East and off I went, heading West back to the church.
I felt more useful that morning than I have in the past couple weeks. I was surprised at how quick God answered my prayer. I was humbled by the very genuineness of this stranger and overjoyed to be useful to my Lord. There have been times when I have been "had" by those seeking a handout from the church. But this one instance made all the others fade into the shadows of the past. Thanks be to God, for answered prayer, for making me useful when I was feeling useless. Thanks be to God for this stranger in need.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Very Early July 30th Saturday Preacher's Contribution

Since I'll be on vacation and actually preaching on the Loaves and Fishes text this week, I thought I'd offer this bit of levity. A little humor shares the joy of our faith often helps those in the pew to listen. Here's a groaner:

When the preacher approached a boy who was fishing in the park pond, he said, "Young man, do you know the parables?"
"Yes, sir," the lad quickly replied.
"Which do you like best?"
The boy looked up and grinning replied, "The one where everybody loafs and fishes."

Somehow, it seemed kinda fun for summertime, when we perhaps loaf around more in the heat and I know the folks here are out and about fishing every chance they get. I'm hoping our choir director and choir member are bringing in a good catch. The choir fish fry in January is always a delicious event!!
May you find time to loaf with God in these summer days. And may we not neglect to fish for people in all that we are and do.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

New Set of Wheels

Of all the things I most dread to do, aside from parachuting out of an airplane, is buying a new vehicle. Spirit - my 2nd minivan which replaced Calvan, my first minivan, decided it was time for the evaporator to give up the ghost. Naturally, the warranty was over long ago. Also naturally, it was well over $1,000.00 to repair/replace. Now, I am not going to go through the summer without a/c, my friends. Been there, done that during the hottest summer drought in 1988. I would drive 400 miles every other weekend to be with my dear LH in that first year of our commuter marriage. 400 miles through the farmland of OH, IN and Central IL. Never, again.
So, a year earlier than planned, I traded in Spirit for Mystic. Wow! I've entered the 21st century! I am most amazed with the CD player and the free year of a paid premium radio service. (Something to play with on our roadtrip to IL/WI) The middle seats are bucket and hopefully easier to remove. With our greys, we never have the middle seats in the van anyway.
And the a/c works so wonderfully well and there are dual controls for passenger and driver. So when LH has it going as cold as meat locker, I can turn my side down!!!
I really dislike purchasing a new vehicle though. I time the sales person to see how quickly they descend upon me. Always under three minutes.
I still can't get over that so many vehicles cost as much as the home my parents purchased in 1966. (All brick three bedroom, 2 bath home, dng rm, lv rm, and finished basement - w/ family room).
You try to finagle the best deal but in the end you always feel like the dealership made out better than you!!
So, I really dreaded the whole rigamorole. And actually, the salesman was not high pressured, and even figured out 2 different incentive plans to see which would be cheaper. So, it was not the horrendous experience I had anticipated. It wasn't such fun, that I would enjoy it, but, it turned out much better than I would have expected. I hope I won't have to do this again for long, long time. I shudder at the mere thought.
With the hot weather, I have been enjoying the fully functioning a/c and the smooth ride, along with scanning all the radio stations and planning how to tie down the Christmas tree to the luggage rack!
Wouldn't be neat if you only had to buy a new vehicle every dozen years? Sigh. The worst is behind me and I may as well enjoy my new set of wheels.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Pre-Vacation Chaos
Just 10 days away from vacation and the pre-vacation scramble is well underway. Not only am I working on this Sunday's (July 23) service and sermon, but also on (July 30th Congregational Hymn Sing) and August 6th (the Sunday upon my return). Ughhhhhh...At least I only have the Prayers of the People to write for July 30th, having already done the Call to Worship and the rest of the liturgy. I have also already written the Communion Liturgy for Aug. 6th. This has been going on since last week.
I have a retreat planning meeting to call together before I leave as well.
On the home front, I am slowly doing laundry of items I need to pack, but some of which I will be wearing in the meantime. LH will want to me to make sure I pack the maps, and all sorts of little things, that don't fit in his dop kit.
The dogs will need to be boarded and since the van is mine, I get the honors of dropping the dogs off at the Doggie Spa (actually a groomer who has a farm). I keep telling The Boys that they are going to the Doggie Spa so they feel better about being boarded. Nevertheless, they are none too happy when they get to the front door of the kennel. They'll survive. It's also my joy to go pick them up again when we return home. They'll be all freshly bathed and groomed, although with greyhounds there isn't that much to groom, aside from clipping their nails and a good brushing. Jett has been shedding so much lately (of course it's been in the 90's the last couple days) that I believe he grows hair overnight only to shed it the next day!!!
Then I still have to get a couple bottles of wine to bring my sister.
It's been a year with no Sunday off since our last vacation. I am so ready to get away and not grind out one more sermon. I am feeling the need to simply relax and see my family.
The sacrifice of ministry for me is time lost with family. We live too far away to just spend an hour to visit. We never have full long weekends to spend with family. Our holidays are working holidays and we can't get away then either. So that leaves us with a once a year trip to Chicago and WI. The only family I have left is my sister. There are times it would be wonderful to see each other more than once or twice a year. Talking on the phone every week is ok, but it's just not the same as being together and doing things together. It never seemed to bother me too much, until the death of my parents. Time does go by rather swiftly and the time I have to spend with my family is far too limited. How nice would it be to have a Friday evening bar-b-que and have them over? Or for them to have us over Sunday evening? Just isn't possible.
Since we don't have children, I don't know how it is for the rest of you, with time spent with your children and family. Let me know, do you spend the time you'd like to with your family?
We preach on family life, responsibilities and spending time with your kids, but what about ourselves and our families?
Of Course, there are those who are probably thankful not to have more time to spend with family. I, for one, am not in that group.
Oh well, it's back to the pre-vacation chaos of finishing liturgy and 2 sermons to write!!!!!!
It will all be done in time and there will be grace of letting go for at least a little while.

Friday, July 14, 2006

FRIDAY FIVE - Pet Peeves

1. Grammatical Pet Peeve - the use of the term, "ironic". It should
not be used in place of a coincidence.
2. Household Pet Peeve - spots on the stainless steel sink left mostly by
LH (since we have no kids!). An obession with
me, where little else in the house or my life is such an obession, to keep
wiping around the sink and the faucet until
the spots are gone.
3. Arts & Entertainment - Reality shows - are there no writers anymore?
Poker on TV - how boring and who cares
any way.
4. Liturgical - Hymns that drag and are played all too slowly: Come Sing O Church in Joy, Rejoice Ye Pure in Heart, etc. (Groan) There's nothing more irritating than singing faster than the organist playing and dragging the whole spirit of the hymn down, down, down.
5. Wild Card - drivers who have forgotten that turn signals are
standard equipment on their vehicles and meant to be
6. Bonus - What I do that peeves others - (especially LH) using the
pronoun "they" without a
reference. I do so this far too
often. Although, sometimes
I think LH just doesn't listen to
my preceeding conversation
and therefore, is clueless when
I make a "they" statement.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


The brown-eyed susans are in bud in my perennial garden and it seems that the progession of flowers has been rather swift this year or perhaps, it only seems swift in the whirlwind of life and ministry.
All winter long, I yearned and anticipated the first blooms of spring. The purple crocuses are the first to bloom - that is, when the bunnies don't chomp them down first. Then come the daffodifs and anemones. The tulips show their colors followed by the Siberian Iris and Forget-Me-Nots.
The Larkspur become showy with their purple blooms and the Oriental Poppies display their huge tissuepaper looking blooms. The Dr. Suess flowers (Bee Balm) pop up and the Hummingbirds are thrilled. The red geraniums are in the planter boxes on the porch rail. The snapdragons reappear from seeds sown from the previous year. The Yarrow and ethereal Baby's Breath are a vision in pink and white. Meanwhile the Potentilla bushes are putting forth their bright yellow flowers from spring til fall. The lavendar/periwinkle Carpathian Harebells open and the burgandy Pin Cushion flowers sproing all over to the delight of bumblebees and goldfinches (who like the seeds from spent flowers). The coneflowers are blooming nicely. The Chinese Lanterns are nice and green and hanging from their branches. Slowly they will turn orange in time for fall.
But now the Brown-eyed Susans are in bud and soon they will be blooming. It will the last of my perennials to bloom and appear. I feel a bit of melancholy since it all progressed so quickly but with each new plant growing, buds appearing and blooming, I am filled with joy and wonder. The profusion of color and blooms is a feast for the eyes and even the soul. I wonder if the neighbors see the rhythm of my garden or merely dismiss the messy appearance of various texture and color so at odds with their neatly manicured barberry bushes, junipers, and masses of mulch all the same color. Do their spirits never yearn for bursts of color, and flowers? I will enjoy those brown-eyed susans and all that is still flowering. I will miss greeting each new appearing and the anticipation of their cheery blooms and fireworks of color. Now is the time to live with the flowers, to say good-bye to those as they are spent until next year, and to thank them for the great joy they have brought to my spirit and soul.
The summer progresses and so do I through this church year.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Ever have one of those weeks where you're busier than you want or desire to be? Yup, just lived through one and the whole month of July isn't looking less busy either. One often thinks that things slow down in the church during the summer, but it isn't necessarily so.
Last week I survived 3 twelve-hour days with 5 nights of VBS. I was exhausted, although I do enjoy being with the children. I shepherded the pre-schoolers and kindergartners around, mostly helped them with their crafts and bible story pictures/activities and helped them with their singing. Thank goodness they don't care that much if you don't sing well.
We had such a great group of children, full of enthusiasm, energy and fun.
We had an archeology professor from a nearby college, give a presentation on archeology on the final VBS night. The kids were full of questions and the interaction was great. He even brought in some plaster cast skulls, and a few artifacts to amaze the young ones.
The teachers, helpers, and snack ladies surrounded those kids with such love and attention. They were wrapped in grace, and enjoined in the Body of Christ the entire week. What a picture of community we enfleshed that week, all working together in the love of Christ to share the goodness of God with these young ones, both from our churches and from the community. What a grace it would be if we would enflesh such community every week and always!

1. I always celebrate the 4th of July with a prayer of thanksgiving.
LH usually is in a parade in the colorguard of the SAR.

2. I felt independent for the first time when I was able to drive
to and from work and school.

3. On the grill - good old-fashioned American hamburgers

4. Strawberry shortcake - biscuit or sponge? Neither, I not a fan
of strawberries. Make it watermelon or Key Lime Pie for me.

5. Fireworks: Best Experience - 1976 on the roof of the
Carriage House in Chicago (nearly across from John
Hancock) watching the fireworks above and seeing
the colorful reflections on the dark Lake Michigan,
all together with family.
Worst experience - Geneva, Switzerland, course it was
the first of August (Swiss Independence Day) and not
the fourth of July. People were letting off firecrackers
in the midst of pedestrians walking. What a nightmare!
You hoped you wouldn't get hurt walking around never
knowing when a firecracker would go off in your way.
1. Favorite Patriot - John Adams (I portrayed him in High School)
2. Favorite Tory - Samuel Chase from Maryland, I think.
3. Favorite Wife - hands down, Abigail Adams, intelligent, witty
and very able.
4. Favorite Song - "But Mr. Adams"
5. Favorite Line - I'm sure something Ben Franklin said!