Monday, March 26, 2007

How my heart rejoices
And my spirit rings
when my eyes alight
on the crocuses of spring.
Richly purple with vibrant
orange centers
popping up amid the slumbering
remains of the past growing season.
In all the neighborhood, bleakly bland
up you pop and take your stand
heralding the new life to come.

We live in a faily new subdivision where everyone has the same boring low maintenance landscape of barberrys, junipers, and other little bushes and evergreens embedded in heaping piles of mulch. A few have planted daffodils, even few tulips and there are some fans of day lillies. But our house stands out (right now because of the weeds and grasses that to be weeded!!) with gorgeous purples crocuses, daffodils, tulips, grape hyacinth and all the perenials I planted. Yes, it is more maintenance but from now 'til November color and blooms provide delight and enjoyment to us and hopefully, to all who pass by our house. Life is too short for boring, cookie cutter landscaping. Think outside the box of the subdivision and let the glory of God's beautiful and marvelous creations be seen and enjoyed!!
Obviously, I'm thrilled with my beautiful crocuses and look forward to see my perenial garden bloom in all its layered and textured stages. For now I boast, of having the first color in the whole subdivision!!!!! (God forgive me for my smug gloating!)
May the stirrings of new life poke through and burst into blossom around you.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Little did I know last Tuesday what would befall my well-planned schedule with the large funeral looming over me. Oh, I got the scalloped potatoes in the oven all right, and LH had steaks to be grilled in hand as he walked out the sliding glass doors onto the patio when he called for Jett to come out (who by the way, was perfectly content lying on the dog bed). Jett bounded out the door, got spooked by something and crash landed on the kitchen floor with a gash in his leg. It, thankfully, wasn't bleeding too badly. Chris brought the steaks back in, I held Jett while he cleaned and dressed the wound. Then he insisted we go to the Emergency Vet - 20 minute drive, a wait, put the dog to sleep, stitch, and then recovery time before the 20 minute drive home. The way I figured it we would be home sometime between 9:30 pm and 10 pm. I still had to finesses the funeral sermon, and pencil the name in the prayer of commendation and for the committal. Maybe, by 11 pm I would be done. I was furious and used some rather colorful language. The last time, Ben cut his paw, I had to take him to the E-Vet by myself while he bled through the gauze and I broke very speed limit I encountered. (made it to the E-Vet in just under 15 minutes!) LH insisted WE both go.
I pulled the potatoes out which were by now done. Fuming away, upset at the precious time I would lose when I was already tired and faced such a long day ahead of me.
We piled Jett and ourselves into the van and off we went. I take the County line road to get to the State Route to the other State Route as my normal way to go to where the shopping district is, as well as the E-Vet. LH will use a different North-South road. Well, as I reached the corner of County line and State Route, where our regular Vet's office is located, lo and behold, there were cars in the parking lot. Bingo! A day they work later. I pull into the lot, hop out and check to see if they can look over Jett. Yup, bring him in!
The vet looks over the injured leg, puts in 5 staples, bandages it and gives us antibiotic. We are good to go and less than 1/2 hour including the 7 minute drive home!
There were not enough ways to thank God for this grace - that our Vet was still open at 6:25 pm, that they could bandage him, that I would be home with still plenty of time to work on the funeral service/sermon. I stood outside that cinder block building falling over myself in gratitude of the grace showered upon me.
And the next day, the Lenten breakfast with a talk I gave, the funeral service with one small glitch, the luncheon for 100, the ride through Amish country to the cemetary, the ride back to church with a stop at the Bulk Food Store to get nutmeg, and the last sermon of the day at the Old Folks Home was rich in grace.
Granted I was dog-tired when I got home at 9 pm, but it was a good tired.And all was touched by the grace and mercy of God.
Jett is doing fine and trying to be good and not lick his ouch. He just needs a reminder now and again!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Is It Tuesday, already?

This will be short and to the point!
In the last week, I've written a piece for the Easter sunrise service.
Helped run the Women's meeting
Welcomed a college choir for their concert at the church and put in a 13 hour day.
Wrote my sermon.
Went to the grocery store.
Went to the Doctor.
Went to the Pharmacy.
Took a nap. (It was the sinus infection)
Prepared for a retreat.
Led the church council retreat for LH.
Led Adult SS class.
Led worship.
Went to hospital to see person who fell ill in worship.
Got lunch.
Drove back to church to pick up frozen meal to deliver to the family
of kids I confirmed whose Mom is undergoing chemo therapy.
Drove to house of parishioner whose husband died that morning.
Got home.
Had an hour and half break to make and eat dinner, glance over paper.
Worked on funeral liturgy/bulletin
Women's bible study
Go over funeral bulletin with secretary
Interruptions and usually Monday stuff
Internet service not working, secretary tries to fix
Release time Christian Ed with noisey kids
Telephone rings often
Work on Sunday's liturgy and bulletin
Organist comes in for funeral hymns and to practice
By 2:30 pm it is hopeless to work on funeral sermon -
need some space to clear my head.
Head for home. Sit down to computer. Begin writing funeral sermon.
Make dinner, clean up.
Go back and finesse sermon. Write up invocation and call to worship.
Make 2 phone calls
Correct letter in name of two pallbearers.
Stop by parishioner's house to pick up poem to be read at funeral
Make a nursing home visit
Funeral home visit.
Go home.
Make some scalloped potatoes for funeral luncheon for 150--175?
Wed. Lenten Breakfast 9am
I am the scheduled speaker of course
10:30 am viewing before the funeral service
11:30 am Funeral service in sanctuary
12:15 Luncheon - served in seatings and shifts
2 pm Leave for the cemetary about an hour away
4 pmish Arrive back at church.
5:30 pm dinner break
6:45 pm leave for Old Folks Home worship service
7 pm Old Folks Home worship service
9: pm Hopefully, I will be home.

When I saw the Doctor about my sinus infection I asked if he wanted to know how I got it in a nutshell:
"It's Lent. More activities. Long hours. Lots of people. Gazillions of germs."
He agreed.
I hope I live to see Easter!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tuesday Soul Check:

From Make Of Yourself A Light came this quiz:

You Are a Prophet Soul

You are a gentle soul, with good intentions toward everyone.
Selfless and kind, you have great faith in people.
Sometimes this faith can lead to disappoinment in the long run.
No matter what, you deal with everything in a calm and balanced way.

You are a good interpreter, very sensitive, intuitive, caring, and gentle.
Concerned about the world, you are good at predicting people's feelings.
A seeker of wisdom, you are a life long learner looking for purpose and meaning.
You are a great thinker and communicator, but not necessarily a doer.

Souls you are most compatible with: Bright Star Soul and Dreaming Soul

What Kind of Soul Are You?

I hadn't thought of myself this way. Prophets are not well-liked! Add to the mix someone's observation that I am a bit like Deborah and Jacob who wrestled the angel.
Interesting mix. So, what kind of soul are you on this cold but sunny Tuesday?

Monday, March 05, 2007


On Friday, LH and I went to have our taxes prepared. Always an hour + ordeal. I know we never claim everything! And then it's disheartening to see how much we've had to pay in. Not that I am against taxes to provide the services needed for all folks.
So the ride up North to the Big City on the North Coast,
to get to the tax preparer, takes about an hour,
but she's very good. Since we were in the Big CityNC we decided to check out the Big City Market. This is one of the things I miss most about not living adjacent to the BCNC.
The Market boasts the freshest produce at great prices, it's fresher than any grocery store. Everything looked so good, you just wanted one of everything. In the end, we settled for aspargus, raspberries, and garlic. We already had produce at home.
The inside of the Market features meat butchers and vendors of various kinds. Need a goat head? They have that. Need a rabbit. Yup, it's available. Along with regular cuts of most every kind of meat, bones, sausages, fish, etc. There are cheese vendors, pastry and bakery vendors as well.
Since it was lunch time LH and I enjoyed a bratwurst sandwich and then shopped. We splurged on Arctic Char and I confess, we picked up a rabbit, which I told LH I will make before Easter but never on Easter - who in their right mind would have bunny on Easter?!!!? Kinda sick.
I found some nut horns for dessert, my absolute favorite jam: HERO Forest Berry Jam. (Hero is a Swiss company) and some Raclette cheese and Appenzeller cheese! Wow, some smelly, great tasting cheese.
Now, we'll need to make Raclette before it gets too warm. We enjoyed a wonderful cheese fondue that night for dinner.
How nice to actually do something together on our day off, even if it was getting taxes done and grocery shopping! Usually, we are running our separate errands.
It made the drudgery of taxes worthwhile.
Now, if we can just squeeze in a visit to the Art Musuem in two weeks or so to catch the Most Famous Impressionist exhibit, that would go a long way to keep my spirit quenched and feeling like I have something of a normal life, besides, moderating meetings, writing sermons, visiting the old folks, and putting liturgies together.
May your tax prep and time hold a grace that will quench your spirit in this very busy season of Lent.

1. Would you call yourself "creative"? Why or why not?
I have creative moments, times of inspiration, but they are sporadic
and often Spirit-dependent. Creativity takes space and time, not
always possible in full-time ministry.

2. Share a creative or artistic pursuit you currently do that you'd like to develop further.
I would love to spend more time writing, on photography and even
watercolor. I never did get water coloring down until at a retreat last
fall where there was much time to just be. I went to the watercolor
table and painted pine trees and bare trees with snowflakes falling.
I even had fun making the sky grey with blue and black paint and
moving the brush a couple different ways to get a different effect.
I still have the book marker I made for myself and marvel at it.
The bigger scene I made became a Birthday Card for one of the
retreatants signed by all who were there.
3. Share a creative or artistic pursuit you have never done but would like to try.
Dance would be fun, but I'm such a klutz and totally non-athletic.

4. Complete this sentence: "I am in awe of people who can _____________."
Paint, draw, sing, dance, and have the eye for photography.
5. Share about a person who has encouraged your creativity, who has "called you to your best self." (I'm pretty sure that's from the Gospel of Oprah.
My aunt who took my sister and I to the Art Institute in Chicago whenever we went downtown to visit for a weekend. She also made us make things for Christmas, like a hanging banner, or mosaic trivets. She bought us a piano and so we took lessons. Tante H also listened exclusively to the FM Classical station.
The folks at the creative writing class I was at in Michigan who
encouraged me.
My time with the body of Christ that was in PA with a spiritual direction group.