Tuesday, April 29, 2008

As seen at Frog Blog:
These are my personal privileges of a very "different" sort. These are things that not everyone gets to experience and know in life. They are privileges, yet some of the wealthiest folks in the world have not done them. Copy and paste to your blog if you wish to play. All of these apply to my life, bold the ones that apply to yours. Please feel free to add any of your own.

*Learned to cook or bake before age 12 with a family member. Been cooking and baking ever since!

*Had a pet growing up and *experienced its death, as well as life. Let's see, there were goldfish, turtles and a terrier mix, Rex. Still a dog lover.
*Witnessed puppies or kittens being born or got to keep an eye on a nest until the eggs hatched and the birds flew. Haven't seen the puppies or kittens, but we were adoptive parents to bluebirds in our backyard.

*Helped plant seeds or plants in a garden and then eat the vegetables fresh. Bonus if you ate a tomato fresh off the vine! Not much better in life than a fresh, ripe tomato off the vine.

* Lived within 10 miles of a grandparent. -Nope, lived thousands of miles from my grandmothers. (Grandfathers were deceased)Did get to visit them in Switzerland and they visited us in the Windy City.

*Can remember having homemade ice cream in the summer (always peach for us). Nope, we got our ice cream off the Tastee Freeze (soft serve) and Good Humor Truck (ice cream bars)and 1/2 gallons from the grocery store. Make mine Chocolate Moose Tracks!

* Went on nature hikes with a family member. Extra credit if you collected stuff, licked the drops off of honeysuckle or skimmed rocks across the water. Yup, camped every summer on weekends and vacations. I collected rocks and skipped them across the water. We hiked in many states and in national parks, not to mention the alps in Switzerland!

*This one is a bit out there, but you have blown bubbles through a bamboo pole into a pond, creak, lake or river. If you have never done this, please do it before you die. The smell, sound, feel is wonderful.(perhaps you have one of equal weirdness)- Nope, just enjoyed blowing regular bubbles. Still do.

*Had a special tradition for Thanksgiving or Christmas that was passed down. This involves food. Still make our family stuffing, complete with Italian sausage! Still have a live Christmas tree every year (except for the one year when LH just had to have an artificial tree. It remains in the basement!)

* Built a snow person or rode a sled with sibling, parent, grandparent, or aunt/uncle. NOt only built snow people, but in the year of the Great Blizzard, we made an igloo!!! Sledding was tough in the flat area of the Windy City. However, sledding in Switzerland down an alpine road was a rush and way cool, even with my Mom!

* Had homemade hot cocoa (recipe on Hershey container) as a child. -Yes on the homemade cocoa, but it was Droste. Hershey was not big in our house. Probably spoiled by all the Swiss chocolate!

*Had an article(s) clothing that was handmade by family member or family friend. Mom made all our clothes growing up. Really cool stuff like skirts with matching trim jackets, back to school dresses. Mom made my wedding dress which I still treasure as a priceless gift.

*Lived in a town where RC cola and Moon Pies could be purchased at a local store. Surely, that was so. Never did like cola until 7th grade and never cared much for Moon Pies. Odd child. I drank water!

* You were taken fishing before you were 13. If you can call baiting a hook with chicken liver on a bamboo pole in a pond in Florida and catching bass!!!
*Had a pen pal growing up. Had a pen pal from Melbourne, Australia which ended in 8th grade. Had a pen pal from Philippines which ended about 20 years ago. Had a pen pal (family friend) from South Africa since sophomore year in HS. We still write (e-mail) and just meet last fall in South Africa.

*Know a family recipe by heart Pretty much, although I still have the recipes on hand to make sure I don't leave anything out. Mostly, there isn't a whole lot of measurements. I just know, even as Mom and grandma just knew.

* A trip to town usually meant you got a quarter to ride on the carousel at K-mart.

* You were encouraged to memorize scripture. Not necessarily. Did learn some scripture. Had to memorize German poems to recite at Christmas time and to Grandmas over the phone.

* Played Hop-scotch, Marbles, or Annie Over as a child. -Not really, skipped rope, played Red Light Green Light, Freeze and TV Tag, Ghosts in the Graveyard, and Mother May I?

*Drove through a local neighborhood, charity or business to see Christmas light display. Yes, we would drive through the neighborhood to see the lights at Christmas time. 'Course we'd go into Windy City to catch the window displays at Carson's and Marshall Fields.
Feel free to play along! I feel very privileged personally!

Have a parishioner who's undergoing treatment for cancer at mega hospital in City on the North Shore. He'll be there all week for 7 weeks and come home on weekends.
This was to commence on Monday of this week. This person sings in the choir.
The choir anthem Sunday morning was, "I Want Jesus to Walk With Me".
There couldn't have been a more appropriate piece that morning for this one parishioner. There were several other places in worship - prayer, something in the sermon, that just seemed meant for him. He slipped out while I was greeting folks.
So, when I got home and had lunch, I called him. Again to assure him of our prayers, of our willingness to help with any need, and I mentioned the anthem and how God seemed to be speaking to him through it. He agreed and noted that he found it hard to sing in a couple places. A good, hard, I affirmed, where the truth meets our deep need, fear, hurt, etc., where God has connected with us.
I continually marvel at God's synchronicity/simultaneity within us and around us. It's as though God is saying, I am with you. I love you. Take notice. I am here.
It's a wondrous, holy and mysterious thing, God's synchronicity/simultaneity.
I'm soooo behind in my gardening. The weeds have begun to overtake the herb garden, not to mention the front flower beds. It didn't rain for some time and it was very warm. Things grew overnight and the ground got hard. Now it rained, and I can't get out there!!!
The chives are ready for their first cutting! Little chives are springing up all over, the dandelions are blooming, the Canadian Thistle is growing taller and the sour clover has spread a network the lentgth of the flower bed and one Queen Anne's lace will need a shovel to get at its turnip root.
It's also window washing time again.
Time for Ben's dental.
Time for me to do my laundry.
Time to wrap and send SIL's 50th Birthday package - pampering spa, chocolate,
princess and wild woman
Time to wrap Confirmands and Mentors gifts & cards - for this Sunday
Time to wrap FIL's 80th Birthday gift - also for this Sunday
Time to get moving on a Synod retreat
Time to start rewriting the openings and closings for VBS
It just never seems to stop.
Ever feel like your just spinning your wheels and not going anywhere or getting anywhere?
I've been here nearly 4 years and feel like there is little that has been accomplished at the church. I know that it is in God's hands, but there seems to be little or no fruit. The church is aging and no new members except for the 3 Confirmands which we welcome with joy and love. They have grown up in the congregation and are great kids.
I have spent time in pastoral care with at least 3 non-members who are still non-members. I invite folks to share ideas and they are quiet.
I don't feel as though I am doing much good here, nor am being very effective. And I care too much for the wonderful folks here to drag them down. But I can't carry the whole church myself or be the miraculous breath of the Spirit that breathes new life into them. I feel so tired and spent.
One member complained "Why do we have inserts on hymns when we have two hymnals?"
Answer: Neither hymn was in the hymnal - "Just a Closer Walk" and "They'll Know We are Christians". Neither of them unfamiliar to our folks. But I figure, if that's all they have to complain about, then it isn't too bad. I pray for God's Spirit to come, with a mighty gust into and through them and I. Come, Holy Spirit, come breathe your breath of life into us, into all the world.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


*Stomping out fires with joint VBS, and national/local organization-
It has been draining and tiring, many hurt feelings, people who
have lost sight of the big picture, big egos, etc. The fires are not
quite out and one may yet be smoldering, but the congregation is
supportive and our representatives are good and solid folks
*Presbytery - Continuing Ed day and meeting. 'Nuff said.
*Session - meeting with Confirmands (3 out of initial 5)and committee meetings
*Writing- sermons, newsletter articles, and press release for National Day of
Prayer Breakfast host at our church and sponsored with the Methodists
*Visitation - of elderly, shut-ins and sick
*Getting gifts - for confirmands, graduates
*Weekly shopping and errand running
*Vet - annual checkups, Ben needs a dental
*Sighing over the herb garden and flower beds running rampant with weeds and
not having time to weed after rain, guess I may use the hose to soften the
ground this Fri. Fertilized the lawn - why are there still dandelions coming
up after applying Turf Builder plus 2?
*Feeding the bluebirds
*Ironing all the summer clothes I dumped the end of October after our trip to
South Africa. Need them now for Spring/Summer
*Gift-bagging the Adminstrative Assistants Day gifts for LH and me to give to
the church secretaries
*Baby Shower gift purchase, gift-bagging and attending the shower
*My Bed - but never for long enough
*Nursing my thumb that I sliced on my razor this morning in the shower
I really did a number on it
*Church Clean-up Morning - raking every leaf from the entire village that
gathered in all our bushes around the church

That's where I've been in this very busy and trying month of April. May doesn't look all that promising either - a very hectic month around here. Maybe, just maybe the beginning of June may offer some breathing space with God and a re-engergizing!
One special grace: Finding a pair of sandals that fit my feet to replace a worn
stretched out pair. What a joy! Comfortable sandals that fit!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Why is it every time I try to find confirmation class gifts, teacher gifts, mentor gifts, etc. when you need a 5, 7, 12, of a kind, the Christian book store only has 1, 2, or 3. I can't be the only one in a 3 county area that needs small quantities of the same thing. If you're serving a whole county, wouldn't you have extras of things? It's always so frustrating. Hopefully, I ordered early enough to get the bracelets I found for the confirmation class.
I'm just sayin' it ticks me and happens everytime I find the "perfect" item.

Monday, April 07, 2008


It's been a whirlwind around here. Two parishioners with medical diagnoses you wish no one would have, and an incident that anguished my soul. It made me wonder, why I do what I do, that all my preaching has been for naught. I wept, I prayed, I began to think that I had best update my dossier. I know I often fall short of living out my faith, but this was grievious in damaging relationships. Suffice it to say, I felt I had failed as a pastor to this certain parishioner-who-does-so-much.
Later last week, I receive a call from said parishioner that perhaps, some reconciliation had begun to take place. My prayers have been for this to happen.
Prayers continue for reconciliation.
So, to recover from this drama-that-didn't-need-to-ever-happen, and several long and spirit-draining weary days, I took the dogs to the Vet for their annual, had my van washed, cleaned out the herb garden and put down the cow manure,and then picked up all the doggie doo (after how many winter months?)and filled two shopping bags full. But the yard is clean now! Or was, since, the Boys have since made new contributions!!
Because the weather was so great, I went to the Big Box Home Store and picked up fertilizer and laid that down, hoping to combat the dandelions before they rear their yellow heads. This is the earliest I've gotten the fertiziler in in several years. Wow!
The crocus and anenomes are blooming even amid the sour clover I couldn't pull out last fall.
LH put the mealworm container on the birdhouse and I put some mealworms in Sunday evening. Beau and Belle, the Bluebirds, were on the birdhouse and had eaten their worms for breakfast. It looked like they want to build a nest. Pray that the sparrows will stay away and not harm their eggs this year.
All these things, gave me some hint of control, dealing with what needed attention, and fed my soul. I so look forward to planting some fresh herbs and even a couple more perenials. I delight in watching what will pop up next in my perenial garden. And the weekend was good, very good. And spring has finally arrived here. And reconciliation is possible.l