Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I now know a secret of the Gingko tree. The Gingko is one of the oldest trees in the world and which graces our planet. It has lovely fan-shaped leaves and grows very, very slowly. It has a lovely yellow color in fall.
It was on the list of things I wanted to do before I left this earth, to plant a Gingko tree.
So, when we moved 4 years ago into small, rural town 1/2hour from anywhere, I had the opportunity to plant some trees, and a lawn! And it was pure providence, that on a cold, wet, spring day, when no one (in the right mind) would go to a garden center (which is now closed and has become a subdivision), that I decided to go and look and price a birch tree. And as I walked in the yard of that center, my eyes beheld the most glorious sight in that dreary, soggy, gray day - a little Gingko tree in a black plastic container. Be still my beating heart!!! I quickly inquired about it and decided that as long as the price wasn't too outrageous, I was taking that baby home! I bought a river clump birch and that wee gingko (well, wee in comparision to a full grown Gingko - it had a 1 inch trunk). I have taken care of it. Fertilized it in the fall and watered it during the dry spells.
A year ago last spring, we had a very late frost in May. the Gingko's buds grew brown and died. I was heartbroken. Before long, with the warm weather, the gingko sprouted new buds which became green leaves. The only tell-tale sign of great stress was that all the leaves had a split down the middle. There were no beautiful whole fan shaped leaves that year.
This spring, the gingko was fuller than ever. It hadn't grown much in height, but as I said, they are really, really slow growers. It was full of leaves and beautiful. Then came the drought and our vacation.
When we returned home from vacation, the leaves weren't looking too perky and I watered the tree. Only it was not enough and a bit late. Green leaves just dropped off. I was worried that perhaps, this drought was it for the gingko.
But the Gingko is not one of the oldest trees in the world for no good reason. It is a miraculous, resurrection tree!!! It heals itself.
For lo and behold, after we received a week of gentle rain, it rebudded and you could see the new, fresh, light green peeking through the split in the bud. And then warm days, and a bit more rain and the leaves popped out and they've been growing.
Granted it's not as full as it was this spring. But it is as if the tree knew it had to sprout more leaves to stay alive and well, to soak up the rays of the life-giving sun.
The Gingko is a miracle tree of new life. And I am privileged, nay, astounded, to witness to the glory that is the Gingko.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Saw this at Hazelnut Reflections and just had to try it!

You Are a Green Crayon

Your world is colored in harmonious, peaceful, natural colors.

While some may associate green with money, you are one of the least materialistic people around.

Comfort is important to you. You like to feel as relaxed as possible - and you try to make others feel at ease.

You're very happy with who you are, and it certainly shows!

Your color wheel opposite is red. Every time you feel grounded, a red person does their best to shake you.


I am still doing penance for wrecking my van.
It's been 26 days, 4 hours and 40 minutes.
I miss my van very, very, much.
Roll down windows and manuel locks seem ancient.
Must always check the locks, especially when putting and
extracting things from the back seat.
I promise to respect the road.
Can I have my van back soon, please!

Name a

Book - Praying our Goodbyes by Joyce Rupp, during a time of profound grief and a
shattering of my personhood. Although, she didn't say anything really
different about grief, it was the way she said it, the scripture and the
prayers and the prayer exercises that reached down deep and helped with my
healing process.

Piece of music - Taize music brings me into God's presence and centers me
work of art - Monet has always spoken to my spirit. I enjoy so many different
artists and various pieces, also photograpers, it's hard to say
just one.
film - Fiddler On the Roof - Tevye had such a personal relationship with God and
that helped me deepen my relationship with God and helped me toss out the
"thee's and thine's" and made me more real, genuine and authentic with God.

unusual engagement with popular culture - this blogging thing. I don't even know how
to all this stuff and never imagined I'd
ever do it. But it has opened me to a
larger faith community with clergywomen.
Alas, I still haven't figured out the digital
camera, yet.

that have helped/challenged you on your spiritual journey.

Bonus: is engagement essential to your Christian faith, how and why?
Of course, Jesus didn't just sit on the mountainside all the time!
Faith without works is dead and works without faith is shallow and
feeds one's ego. Where are we without one another living
out our faith and building up God's realm? (I can't even
(imagine!) I am called to offer that cup of water wherever
to whomever as God empowers me.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Thought I'd give it whirl and see if anything has changed. Nope, guess I'm true to form!
And of course, I experienced a technical glitch, typical me!!
Saw the Meyers/Briggs Personality Type at Quotidian Grace and checked it out.
Tried to copy my badge and it wouldn't take my URL.
INFJ - The Confidant
89 % Introverted
79 % Intuitive
63 % Feeling
68 % Judging
INFJ's make up 1% of the population. We are rare birds aren't we!!!

So, I am ever the INFJ! You can see the badge at
Just in case you were curious!!!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


So there I am, calling on a mostly home-bound parishioner, elderly and frail, who uses a walker and a wheelchair.
SCENE: Living room of ranch house - full of stuff, furniture, plants, knicknacks, etc.
CHARACTERS: Female parishioner ensconced in her comfy, padded recliner
20 something female - Mennonite neighbor
2 year old son - active, into everything
40 something female pastor
Birdcage with two birds

Neighbor gathers up her son to go home shortly after my arrival. He has a small house figure in his hand and mouth. She puts it back on the table, he grabs it again, while she turns her back and sets a colorful glass vase back on the coffee table. She had set it high on a chest because she knows her son gets into everything and glassware around small children is never a good combination. She notices the house and puts it back on the table still a bit slobbery. They leave.
Pastoral visit commences with update on health and general conversation.
As the conversation progesses, parishioner says, "Oh my!" and glances down. My eyes catch a glimpse of something white, small and furry. I exclaim, "Oh My!" and ungraciously set my feet up on the edge of the coffee table. Upon a closer look, I realize it is not a mouse, but a wee hamster. An albino hamster with red eyes.
(Parishioner's granddaughter and family also live at the house - they own a pet shop)
Being a pastor, one part of me is concerned for the safety of the hamster, one part knows the parishioner can't help, and one part of me really doesn't like rodents of any kind. I find the hamster condo, which is a good-sized plastic cage with a roundish disk that rolls on half a sphere and there is a tube-thingy to connect the roundish disk to the rest of the hamster condo. It becomes apparent that a little toddler spies the colorful plastic things, moves the disk around and knocks the sphere off the tube. The tube is now open to the big, wide world beyond and out crawls the hamster. Mother never realized that her son knocked something apart.
I herd the hamster around the coffee table and back towards the condo. I make several grabs, but the hamster slips through and it runs around the condo twice and then heads toward the kitchen. The kitchen is full of stuff and nooks and crannies; not good. I head him off at the pass, make another grab and he's back towards the condo. Then he heads for a door. Whether the door leads to a closet or downstairs, I don't know, but I do know, a wee hamster in a closet full of stuff might never be found until too late. I chase him away. Twice more around the condo and him! Put him squirming in the condo, close the gate. (I already had connected the the sphere thingy back onto the tube.)
Hamster Round-Up completed! Prayers answered - both that I could catch the thing and that no harm would come to it. The parishioner had a hamster/pastor tale to tell to the amusement of her greatgrandchildren and family. And I had a far from ordinary pastoral visit. You just never know what awaits you at any home visit!!!! Or what you may be called upon to deal with. That's the nature of being a pastor. And sometimes, you just have to suck it up and deal with things. (Ughhh...I will never own a rodent!!)And somehow, God's grace is ever present in the most mundane, most extraordinary, and even the silliest of moments. In ministry, there is always a first, somewhere along the line.
When I left, the wee hamster was nestled in a bed of cedar shavings totally worn out and exhausted.
I was thankful, that one of God's creatures was safely tucked where he belonged, and that the parishioner would regale her family with descriptive scenes of the Hamster Round-Up and Things You Never Thought You'd See Your Pastor Do!!!
Not the profoundest of home visits, but at least one of the most entertaining!!!!!
And that is worth its weight in gold to the one stuck at home in the winter of her life. Joy and humor are truly a gift to be enjoyed at any age and at any time of our lives and a grace beyond measure.
What has been your most amusing, interesting, unique pastoral visit?
You Might Be A Presbyterian If...

~the only Latin you know is "Gloria Patri" and the phrase, "Ecclesia reformata,
semper reformanda"
~BOO is not a Halloween expression, but the Book of Order
~jell-o salads are a potluck staple
~Calvin klein is not a designer but the little bit you know about John Calvin
~you arrive on Sunday mornings just in time for worship yet early enough to
get a back pew
~you check your watch every 30 seconds if worship lasts more than an hour
~you serve on the Nominating Committee so that you won't be asked to serve
as an Elder or Deacon
~Session is not a period of time spent with your therapist, but the local
church's governing board
~covered dishes (preferrably filled with something yummy) are what you bring
to a potluck
~Presbytery is not "they" and "them" but really "us"
~Synod is that unknown, mysterious body between Presbytery and GA
~GA is pronounced G-A and not "ga"
~you know the acronyms for all the interest groups and ministries of
the denomination
~you do everything decently and in order
~you always get asked to explain Predestination
~the ushers and elders always walk in step and in formation during worship
~you can point out all the symbols within the Presbyterian symbol
~you use "debts" and "debtors" in the Lord's Prayer
~you church name has a number: First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth or Sixth;
once it gets past 6 there's been one too many church splits
~you've done all the Kerygma Bible studies
~you can recite "The Great Ends of the Church" and know they are not the ample
bottoms of fellow parishioners
~you know the answer to "What is the chief end of man?"
~next to the Bible on your nightstand is the BOO and BOC (Book of Order and
Book of Confessions)
~you actually know how to spell "Presbyterian"
~you know that TULIP is not just a flower, but a theological summation of
~you know Robert's Rules of Order inside and out
~the term "elders" doesn't refer to the older members of the congregation, but
those elected and ordained to serve on Session
~an Overture, is neither a flirtatious comment or a musical piece, but an
issue brought to GA by a Presbytery for action/vote regarding a particular
concern or amendment to the BOO
~you sit more than stand during the worship service
~communion is normally served to you in the pew
~you pay your per capita on time and in full to the church every year
~you are tempted to withhold your per capita every time you don't agree with
the denomination's stance on an issue
~you remember a church split during your membership as a Presbyterian:
local or denominational
~you check the PC(USA).org website daily or weekly
~you know that VBS isn't a sexually transmitted disease
~"Good Morning" is considered a liturigal greeting in the worship service
~you know the name of the present Moderator
~The Outlook is not a stock market forecast but a denominational publication
~You subscribe to "Presbyterians Today"
~you own Welch's grape juice stock knowing communion is served nearly once
a month
~Ghost Ranch is not a haunted place, but a retreat center
~going to Louisville, KY is considered a pilgrimage

Just reflecting, tongue in cheek, on being Presbyterian!!! Any that you would like to add? Put them in "Comments"!
This is my 111th post, not the Barry Bonds homerun breaker record, but it is a trinity of 1's. Somehow, I missed the 100th post!

Monday, August 06, 2007

In Need of Some Comfort Food

Still reflecting on the van accident last week and decided I needed some comfort.
Looks like I'm my favorite cookie!!!!!!!!
Find out what kinda cookie you are!

You Are a Chocolate Chip Cookie

Traditional and conservative, most people find you comforting.

You're friendly and easy to get to know. This makes you very popular - without even trying!

Saturday, August 04, 2007


It was this past Wednesday as I was driving to the church on the state highway, that I caught the edge of the nearly non-existant berm, struggled mightily to get the van back on the road and landed sideways in a deep ditch. I remember trying to steer left and then just the green of tall grasses. I was very shaken and a couple folks stopped, one called 911, the other two men tipped the van the passenger side so that I could crawl out. I did have the presence of mind to turn off the car, unlock the doors, grab my purse and switch on the cell phone. My hands were too shaky to dial.
Still not sure exactly what happened. I know I was thinking of the things I was to do that day. The morning was clear and bright, hot, muggy with blue skies. It was totally unexpected, as these things are. There are telephone lines along the road and I was not near one, thanks be to God.
It took all morning to have the van towed and fill out reports. LH came and took me to the body shop where I waited for my rental. My penance is now to drive a little chevy Cobalt with manual everything. I have to unlock the back door by reaching in from the front door and then I have to remember to lock it before I shut the door. I am grateful that it has air conditioning and gets me where I need to go.
I haven't felt much like driving anywhere. When I got the rental home, I realized I left the garage door opener in the van. It took me a half hour to get myself into the car and drive the 3 minutes back to the body shop. It took much prayer for me to drive to the church on Thursday morning. I have had a couple accidents in the past, but this is the first time where I have had to build up my courage to drive again.
I suppose it is post-traumatic stress.
The left side of my left knee sports a colorful bruise and I ached in my left leg, right arm and neck some the last couple days. But I walked away from over $6,000.00 damage to the van with not a scratch. How blessed can someone be?
I'm sorry to say that I was not talking on a cell phone (it wasn't even on in my purse), I was not fiddling with radio channels, I did not swerve to avoid some animal on the road, I wasn't passing anyone. I can't even explain how it happened, except that I was coming out of a curve.
I am alive! And not one day has gone by that I haven't thanked God that I am still alive and here. I will have deal with all the insurance stuff and extra days of car rental, but I'm alive and ever thankful, to watch the bumblebees bury their faces in blossoms, to be held in LH arms, to hug my beautiful greys - Ben and Jett, to talk to my sister on the phone, to preach on Sunday, to iron my clothes and mop the kitchen floor, to write this today.
You are alive! Notice what you are doing today and be thankful, be grateful that you are alive and able to do all that you do this day.