Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sometimes It's Just Disheartening...

And sometimes things just seem to unravel in the pastorate. Just spoke with one half of a couple who've been "missing" this month and aparrently, the incident in December, concerning coordinating a funeral luncheon, is such an issue with such hurt feelings that they will probably leave the church.
Which brings up a couple things: Where is forgiveness? Are we only members when all is well and good. Living in community is hard. We get our feelings hurt, we hurt other's feelings. How do we live into the forgiveness we have been given in Christ and called to forgive as we have been forgiven?
Where is that church where everyone knows your name and everyone gets along perfectly?
How easy it is to lose our focus. In the middle of a busy Advent season with every person under stress of preparing, hosting family, etc. comes the death of a long-time member and a family in need of finding comfort and hope and being loved in their grief. Isn't that what Christ calls us to? To let go of the busyness and embrace the need of the moment. Am I way off base here?
The Women's Association Coordinator, after a strong Sunday morning announcement that made me cringe, and who named several women to a committee without asking them first, resigned, mostly due to health reasons. She has a very strong, abrasive personality and I accepted her resignation with love and a thank you for all of her work in this past year. She will be laying low for a bit. (She really has been a work horse in the churh for years, and done a lot.) Now she is feeling weak and not able to do all that she has before.
We, the small church we are, are losing rather than gaining members and it is disheartening. And I am beginning to wonder just what God had in mind for me here?
Is all my preaching falling on deaf ears? What of all the interactive experiences in worship, have they all been for naught?
I am aware that this one couple has left churches before, and so this may be a pattern or they were looking to leave and that was the one last straw.
But sometimes it does get discouraging when I look at very aged congregation, shriveling choir, and very few visitors who don't come back even though they are welcomed, invited to coffee hour (when we have them) and people speak to them.
so, in the midst of bleak, grey, cold midwinter, that is what I'm feeling inside.
In the meanwhile, I pray for wisdom, for guidance, for direction, and to not lose heart.

Monday, January 29, 2007


List 4 ways you like to relax or give yourself a break. Then, name a fifth something you've never been able to do, a self-care dream:

1. Nap or sleep. Just a couple hours with the dogs on the couch.

2. Getting my hair cut. Never takes long, but it feels good every 6 weeks.

3. Swiss milk Chocolate - mmmm......with some ice, cold milk. Decadent and soothing.

4. Oh, I confess...going shopping. I don't necessarily have to buy a thing. Just
look and get ideas and if I happen to find just the thing, great! I went to Office
Max Saturday morning just to look around the new store that opened in town and
they gave out a bag with a couple cute freebies: rubberband ball, 3 pens,
letter opener, booklet of post-it flags, and mini scissors, mini stapler in a
plastic box - fun!

5. An all day spa - massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, preferrably shared
with my sister.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Not Yet Ready

Seems like I'm still recovering from the Advent/Christmas season and here I am planning for Lent with not alot of steam or energy. Must be the mid-winter blahs, although, up until a week ago we were fairly mild and now it seems like winter just started. Ever just get that way?
Problem is, Lent is not far away so this winter malaise needs to fly south and take up residence somewhere else instead of within me!
Spent my day off at a Presbytery sponsored all day conference with Kennon Callahan. The worst was getting up so early and driving nearly two hours on a country winding up and down roller coaster road with snowflakes flying and uncertain road surface. By 3:30 pm things wound down to Q & A's and I decided my BFB had had enough and I was ready to leave. Since the sun was shining and the roads dried up I sailed home in 1 1/2 hours, just in time to make an easy dinner, then do dishes, then relax.
Saturday it was up early again for Presbytery meeting an hour + drive. I was good and stayed til 2:30 pm, with a whopper of a headache and my BFB that was tired of being sat upon. AFter the trip home, it was finessing the sermon, cooking supper, doing dishes (which don't fit in the dishwasher) and getting everything together for Sunday morning.
Maybe not really having a day off is where this malaise is coming.
I hope the Spirit will invigorate tomorrow!
As seen at Inner Dorothy:

Your Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:

Entirely Miss Reverend Lady St. Inuksuk the Liminal of Molton St Anywhere

So, now you all know the Entirely Miss Reverend Lady St. Inuksuk is about to leave her office and begin her visitation.
May your day smile upon you with the grace of Christ!

src="http://www.masquerademaskarts.com/memes/minicrest.gif"> My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Entirely Miss Reverend Lady St. Inuksuk the Liminal of Molton St Anywhere
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Monday, January 15, 2007


Please count down five living people you admire and tell us a little something about why they make your list. These could be famous people or people you know personally.


5. Walter Wangerin, Jr. - The Lutheran pastor and author. He is as genuine in his
writing as he is in person. I have enjoyed and benefitted
so much from his writrings.

4. Joyce Rupp - another wonderful author, whom I have not met. Her writings speak
to me and so often hit the nail on the head with her prayers.

3. Our General Presbyter - She is so competent and thrives on handling conflict
and sticky situations. I wish I had more of her
confidence. I worked with her as one of our churches
had problems with their pastor. It was a good
experience and process and I got to see our GP at work.

2. Tim Jones - retired, but often still working Presbytery Exec and interim exec.
He has such a depth to him, very spiritual, a sense of humor, great
wisdom, compassion and gentleness of spirit. Yet, a strength that
dealt with some rather tough situations. I really admire him very

1. Condoleeza Rice - poised, smart as a whip, articulate, and many faceted. She
seems one who can master most anything she attempts. I
admire her professionalism, her groundedness, her many
abilities in her position.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Last night after supper and dishes, I folded 88 origami boats to use in worship in a few weeks with the calling of the disciples. I ran out of paper and have to go this Friday and get some more ( I didn't want all boring white boats and the black was too dark to write on). So I got to thinking, how many male pastors would be folding origami boats for their worship services?
(Hint: I am married to one who wouldn't even though he liked my cloud idea, for the Great Cloud of Witnesses Stewardship Sunday).
I knew it would take awhile to fold them and didn't want to leave it to the last minute.
Yet, I am curious as to the numbers if any male pastors would or do such things?
Somehow, it seems to reach folks here on a deeper level when there is an item involved, something tangible, something visual. They are not ready for any screens or video clips here! Oh my! (I get grief for not using the old gospel hymnbook in a week! Sigh.) And yet, they so respond when in our worship something besides just listening is asked of them. I have yet to hear a complaint or catch grief because they received a glass gem reminding them that they are beloved of God, or hanging a cloud on the sanctuary wall with the names of those saints in light who were examples of faith to them and surrounding us all with a great cloud of witnesses).
If there are any male pastors or women pastors who know if any male pastors out there who would do this, let me know. I'm just kind of curious. Maybe this is just my quirk. Do any of you women pastors incorporate such things into your worship/sermon?

Monday, January 08, 2007

It's about Birthdays!!!!

1. "It's my party and I'll [blank] if I want to..."
Favorite way to celebrate your birthday (dinner with family? party with friends? a day in solitude?)
Oooo, a day to laze around and then go out to dinner with LH.

2. "You say it's your birthday... it's my birthday too, yeah..."
Do you share your birthday with someone famous? (Click here to find out!)
Louis Comfort Tiffany
John Travolta
Vanna White
Wow, if I had the artistic ability of Tiffany, could dance like Travolta and had a figure like White, I'd be in 7th heaven!
3. "Lordy Lordy look who's forty..."
Milestone birthdays:
a) just like any other birthday--they're just numbers, people.
b) a good opportunity to look back/take stock
c) enjoy the black balloons--I'll be hiding under a pile of coats until the day is over
d) some combination of the above, or something else entirely.
a & b plus sometimes you just have to celebrate, be silly, and enjoy whatever number you are, cause you'll never be that again!

4. "Happy birthday, dear... Customer..."
Have you ever been sung to in a restaurant? Fun or cringe-worthy?
Nope, I've been spared, thankfully so. I'm too self-conscious to endure the focus.

5. "Take my birthday--please"
Tell me one advantage and one disadvantage about your particular birthday (e.g. birthday in the summer--never had to go to school; birthday near Christmas--the dreaded joint presents)
EDITED TO ADD: This could also simply be something you like/dislike about your birthday (e.g. I like sharing a birthday with my best friend, etc.).
One advantage to February is that whatever you didn't get for Christmas, you can ask for again!!!!!!!
One disadvantage is that it is often cold and snowy, no birthday cake and ice cream outside! - good excuse though to curl up on the couch with a book and the hounds, take a nap, and drink hot cocoa.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I've read that bottled water is now going to be a big no-no due to the water shortage in certain areas of the world. And here we are, selling precious water in bottles! Maybe, the water bottling companies could earmark 25% or more of their profits to those places and put in water pumps and filters! Now, there's a solution that wasn't so hard!
I am not going to be made to feel guilty for drinking something I've been drinking all my life (nearly 1/2 a century, thank-you). Water has been my drink of choice from my earliest days. Never was much of a pop drinker, didn't even like Coke or 7-Up 'til I was at least in 7th grade. Europeans have been drinking bottled mineral water for years before it even hit the States. "Course, those were the days of glass bottles, but they had plastic bottles in the early "80's.
Ususally, I drink tap water. However, where we live presently, the tap water is not that great, so we have a fridge with a filter. I drink that most of the time. Dare I admit that often the bottled water I have with a brand label on it usually contains my filtered fridge water, since I wash and reuse most of the bottles from water I buy.
I think bottled water, although they charge more for it than needed, is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Handy to carry and pick up whenever and wherever. You can slip it in a bag, stick it in your cupholder, have it with you at meetings, ahh, 'tis a most wonderful thing.
That's the beauty of it, the convenience! And it has gotten more people drinking water than ever before. Is that such an awful thing?
I don't know that the bottled water companies are sucking all our water sources dry. How about people who take really loong showers and baths, who run the water from the faucet the whole time they're brushing their teeth, how about sprinkling lawns in the summer instead of letting your dumb lawn go dormant until the temps cool and the rains fall when they will green up again (isn 't nature wonderful how it can care for itself and survive?!!?). You get the picture.
So, if it is now PC not to drink bottled water and if the churches eventually get on the band-wagon and call for boycotts, count me out. I will drink water, tap, fridge, and bottled until my last swallow on this earth.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Where I've Been...
Lost in the last days of Advent/Christmas and the year!!!
After my back went out and I spent the last week of Advent on powerful medications, it really is all a blur! The tree finally got decorated, the presents wrapped, although LH got two of his gifts the day after Christmas; one at breakfast and one at lunch. (I blame the powerful medications)
The services at Small Town Rural PC were wonderful. The 4th Sunday of Advent was pretty well attended. The Christmas Eve looked lighter than the last two years, but still a good sized group.
This year during Advent, I used a manger (small planter box with feet attached - that looks like a manger)for the focus of the children's sermons. Each week we talked about a different animal (donkey, cow, lamb - Lamb of God, I know only three since 1 week was the kid's Christmas program)that might have been there that first Christmas. Each week, a volunteer (child) would place a handful of straw in the manger. Christmas Eve, I wrapped a longish bread - about the size of a small doll - in a white linen tablecloth, folded and wrapped over the bread to look like an infant and placed it in the manger. When it came time for communion, I unwrapped the bread, blessed and broke it and put 4 hunks into each serving plate. A visual of how Jesus Christ came to be the Bread of Life, the Lamb of God, and offered himself for us; a gift of pure and utter love, grace, peace and hope. I found it deeply moving and profound and I pray it was so for everyone who worshipped with us.
On Christmas Day, we drove to Resortland on the Lake, to celebrate Christmas with father-in-law and twin sisters-in-law. FIL's apartment is jam packed with stuff and I've used cleaner public bathrooms than his. This is not an aging issue, it's been that way for the last 19 years!!!!! The Girls seemed pleased with their gift bags and took the Suze Orman books without offense. Perhaps, they will learn to be more fiscally responsible in this New Year. We ate dinner at the only place open in Resortland on Christmas Day - the Large Furry Mammal Lodge (an indoor waterpark) which had to booked solid with parking spaces hard to find. I don't know, is that the way folks really want to spend Christmas- at an indoor waterpark? Guess, I'm just a church geek, can't imagine Christmas without going to church and being with my loved ones at home. (FIL didn't use his major department store gift card yet to replace two pairs of pants. When he came for New Year's Day, we pointed out the two small holes forming by the back pocket of his Khaki's. The Navy blue are more washed out grey than Navy, sigh. Hope he goes this week! And he's a retired Doc!)
Spent our two vacation days running errands and going to Big City up North to sort of new shopping area. Took the sweatervest from my sister with me to pricey but cool H2O store to see if I could exchange it for long sleeved patterned T-shirt I saw in catalog. Sure enough, they had it and a funky, colorful shirt with gold threads in it. So, I returned one and got to two shirts, all were 1/2 off, and the second was less than 1/2 off with the return, the first was free!!!
Then we went to the TJ store and stocked up on some items - I like the Italian Grapefruit Soda, although not as good as Pepita that I can get in Switzerland, but close enough.
For New Year's Day, we started off with the traditional Eggs Benedict. Then I cleaned up the dishes from breakfast and night before (our traditional Island Sweet and Sour meatballs and Panettoni with champagne at midnight!) Prepared the potatoes for the crock pot. FIL arrived and started the TJ artichoke and spinach dip with pita bread pieces. Cloved the ham with gazillions of cloves! Peeled and sliced apples for TS apple cake (which I had just ordered at a party) and heated the glaze for the ham. Steamed the frozen asparagus and there was dinner. Had apple cake ala mode with Vanilla Bean ice cream; FIL had two dessert servings, typical!!
All in all, a nice and good time together, just a lot of time in the kitchen.
And now, it's a New Year and I pray for our church - local and national, all denominations and ours, that somehow, God's Spirit will energize and work mightly within and around us, that new folks will find welcome here and that we won't lose too many of our aged members this year.
My prayers are with you for 2007. May you be open to the possibilities and adventures and opportunities God brings to you, for your well-being and the well-being of others, and for the well-being of our world. Peace be with us all.