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!