Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Trouble With VBS:

-is, that the props for the opening beachcombing were not prepared ahead of time.
(I did have my starfish, decoration donations, and biblical costumes all neatly
ordered in the church library before I left on vacation)
Yesterday, at 15 mins. before the start of VBS I was combing through a pail of
shells looking for a joined clam shell and running to the SS closet hoping there
would be a white bead (Thanks be to God, there were chunky beads and white ones!!)
This is not good. Whenever I have props - they are lined up in order ready to go
in a safe place.
I wonder if the turtle will be here tonight or the sand dollar tomorrow.
Last minute does not work with this section of VBS.

-is, that I spent time editing, writing and putting together the opening and closings
split between us 2 pastors (which the Methodist minister has never once even
attempted to do, she shows up with her script [provided by me well in advance] in
hand and does it. This is year 5 for me in doing this.)
The week I leave on vacation, the MM tells me that the skits are being done during
snack time and not in the sanctuary during the opening. OK, not a big deal, change
a line to reflect what will come later.
I am knocked off my chair during snack when the MM does a prayer the exact same
prayer I am using for closing. Turns out the book I used for the opening and
closings is the same book with the skits and the M people doing the skits wanted
to follow that book to the letter with the prayer following the skit. I had even
copied the skits,highlighted all the parts, stapled them together, collated each
day and left it with our director. All this work, time and effort and now I had
to rework the prayers. I was furious. With our people and their people.
I could have spent my time doing other things. I have even approached the MM
into taking her turn with the openings and closings, "Oh, no, you write better
than I do!" Sure. She just doesn't want to bother with it and just show up and
do her thing. I am the one to help a little one, sitting with her all night,
helping with her craft, running to get a bandaid for a scraped knee, moving
my ample sized body to all the crazy motions to the songs as encouragement to
the kids I'm with (while she hangs around in the back talking to adults)
She's a Mom and I am not. Maybe, because she's done this with her now adult
child, she doesn't feel the need to do it now. Perhaps, I, who never had
kids, tries to be involved and helpful to our kids at VBS. But I don't
think in an obnoxious way, more low key way.
-is that I have to let all this go and I have for the most part. Yesterday was much better, far more relaxed and fun. It is really all about the kids. And they are having a blast! And so am I because they are really great kids and there have been
no major behavior problems! Whoohoo!!!!!!!

Our Little Rural Church is located at the Gateway to Amish Country in a region saturated with Mennonites. Well, our VBS this year is the Beach Party and we have been doing the Biblical Skits (much to the delight of kids and very amateur actors!)
The opening skit is where God tells Gideon to go, take a few men, nope, too many, a few less, and fight the Midianites. Our VBS Gideon had a different version and questioned God about fighting the Mennonites!!!!
Wow! We were roaring!!! Midianite. Mennonite. All "ites"!!! I guess fighting the Mennonites would have been much easier than the Midianites!!
We pray there will be no holy war here of Presbyterian & Methodists vs. Mennonites!

Monday, July 28, 2008


Tonight will be my first night at my church's VBS. They started last night, but I was still on vacation.
It will be 3 back-to-back 12 hour days. Today I packed a change of clothes, so I won't look all gussied up for the kids. Everyone else will be in casual clothes!
Since it's a beach theme, I have a t-shirt with a lounge chairs and table, flip-flops, palm tree and sand, There's 2 drinks on the table - (Mai Tai's in my view) but if the kids ask, their lemonade of course!!!!!!
Times like these where it would be nice to be able to run home for a quick, healthy snack, clothes change and maybe, even put my feet up for 1/2 an hour. As it is, I'm 17 miles and 25 minutes from home and it isn't good stewardship to go home and come back. I'm thinking I should schedule a pedicure for Fri as a thank you to myself, for a busy, hectic week.
Well, at least I'll be at a Beach!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

RGBP'S FRIDAY FIVE (a week late):
All about your blog:

1. So how did you come up with your blogging name? And/or the name of your blog?
I am so utterly fascinated and connected with inukshuks from our times in
Canada, which in the Inuit language means "likeness of a person". Inuit make
inukshuks as signs of good passageways, message centers, to mark places of
good hunting grounds and goodness. I see inukshuk as a metaphor for us pointing
the way to God and God's goodness in our lives, pointing to God's presence
and grace. Thus was born, St. Inuksuk and the title: signs-along-the-way
2. Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there?
LH stands for my dear Lutheran Husband, the Boys: our greyhounds, Ben and Jett,
Little Town - the small rural village where I serve
3. What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama or
sheer, crazy fun?
Presby*Opia, Skewed View, Quotidian Grace, Holy Grounds
4. What 3 blogs are you devoted to? Other than the RevGalsBlogPals, of course?
Real Live Preacher, the other two are RGBP: St. Casserole and Cheesehead
5. Who introduced you to the world of blogging and why?
I happened upon Real Live Preacher, which led me to RGBP. I was fascinated
and wanted to leave comments and try my hand at it. I am self taught, which
means, I really don't know what I'm doing and therefore, haven't learned how
to link or put pictures on my blog. Course it doesn't help that our computer
system is old and not up to snuff!!!!
Bonus: Have you ever met one of the bloggers you read?
No, not yet. But it would be interesting to be in the midst of such
awesome clergy women!

As seen at St. Casserole's and of course, now tagged!!!
1.List these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog.
3. Tag 7 bloggers and notify them. Frankly, if you read this consider yourself tagged!!!

*Preached in German in Switzerland
*Planted my footprints in the Bay of Fundy (washed away with the incoming tide!)
*Hiked down the Rothorn twice(two days in a row - 1 a 6 hour hike, the other in 2 hours at breakneck speed since a thunderstorm moved in)
*Designed my wedding gown with my Mom who then sewed it
*Did Synchronized Swim
*Interviewed Walt Wangerin, Jr. once
*Play piano (not as well any more, not enough time to practice!)

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'm Back!!!
Back from vacation up in the Northeast in Nova Scotia. Cape Breton was beautiful. Saw countless crows, 1 deer, a bunch of grey seals, numerous puffins, razor bills, gannets, cormorants, a couple of great blue herons, several bald eagles and not one moose! The puffins are the hummingbirds of the Atlantic ocean - they move really fast, especially when the boat is pitching and moving. Pretty tough to get a picture although LH did get a couple on the video recorder. It was a grey drizzly day but still great to be out to see the puffins.
Our day trip on the Cabot Trail was a picture postcard day with beautiful views.
It rained/drizzled the next day again when we left, so we felt blessed to have had such a fantastic day on the Cabot Trail. Be it known, some of the craft and gift shops leave alot to be desired. The lobster was great, however!!! Even McDonalds (which we usually don't patronize much for a meal had the McLobster (lobster roll) which we thoroughly enjoyed up in New Brunswick. Kinda lobstered out now!!!
Spent some time with dear friends in Mass and visited Deerfield Village on a rather hot day.
Spent a night in Frederickton, two nights in N. Sydney where we saw the ferry to New Foundland and walked the beach for a bit.
Spent 1 hour and 20 minutes in Freeport, ME to visit LL Bean's and the Mangy Moose. LH isn't a Bean person. Had dinner at a Lobster Drive-in, kinda like Little Town's Dariette but serving seafood instead of burgers and ice cream.
Drove through Conn. in some wicked rain that did some damage in New Hampshire.
Visited a winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York - over priced for what it was; a simple red table wine that we consumed that very night in our hotel room! Had the worst dinner ever in NY - seafood alfredo - which consisted of 4 rubbery squid rings, 2 scallops halved and part of one small shrimp amid a bunch of pasta - all for an outrageous price. I complained and got no where. We drove home via Pennsylvania!!!!
Went to the Ceilidh in Baddeck which featured an awesome violionist, a great pianist, and one average male who sang in Gaellic. It was most enjoyable.
Because of the rain we came home a day early. More time to do our laundry, get groceries, throw out the rotting garlic, get oil changes, and pick up the Boys who spa-ed at the Farm.
Memorable was the elderly ME driver who nearly hit me as pulled from the left lane into the right and then drove 20 miles per hour in a 35 mile hour zone with a long trail of frustrated drivers behind him. Finally, I was able to pass him!!!
Such are the stuff of vacations, time away and time apart to refresh and renew our spirits, with new vistas, landscapes, people, food, and experiences.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Getting Ready...

On Monday we will be leaving on vacation!!!! I am so ready for 2 Sundays off!!!
We will be adventuring on the eastern seaboard; first to MA to visit our dear friends from Sem. and then upward and upward to Nova Scotia to Cape Breton. We have a date to see the Puffins!!!!
With all the planning we did for South Africa last fall, this one was much easier and we left time and space to explore anything of interest along the way.
So, I will be taking a break for a couple weeks but will return the end of the month with some fresh insights and tales to tell!!!
Still have more laundry to do and retrieve the suitcase from the basement. At least the Greek Letter Airline won't be breaking my suitcase this year!!!!!!
I always have a hard time leaving folks and always hold my church folks in prayer, knowing God has been taking care of them long before I arrived, while I am gone, and long after my time with them is over. But it helps me to leave with a clear conscience and to be open to vacation time and all that God longs to bring me in a different setting and way.
I have also done the liturgy and picked the hymns for the two Sundays I am gone.
Perhaps a quick survey would be in order:

When you leave on vacation and have supply preachers filling in, do you:
1. Plan and prepare the whole service, leaving the Scriptures and Sermon title
for the supply minister to provide?
2. Does the supply minister furnish everything using the order of liturgy the
church uses? (ie: Call to Worship, Invocation, Prayer of Confession/Assurance
of Pardon and Hymns from that church's hymnal)

It would be interesting to hear from all of you as to how this is handled in your churchs and/or traditions.
Since I do the first option, I am exhausted before leaving on vacation planning services that I will not be at and yet feel since I've done all the work, I may as well be at. Plus, there is the service upon my return to plan and work up.
Whenever I supplied anywhere, I requested a bulletin, for the liturgy, and provided all the repsonses and hymns. I also made sure that if there were regular responses (as in Lutheran liturgy) I used those. When I supplied I felt called to lead worship and not merely preach a sermon. Perhaps, I am way off base, but I have heard from a couple supply ministers that they expect the service all planned out and done for them.
Just wondering if my expectations are way off base or I've been doing too much...
In the meanwhile, there are visits to make, a sermon to write, hair to be cut, dinners to be cooked, dishes to be washed, worship to lead, coleslaw salad for the church picnic to be made, packing, cleaning out the van and vacuuming it. There are miles to go before I even begin vacation!!!

Monday, July 07, 2008

LH and I left Saturday afternoon around 12:45 pm to pick up my van from
the repair shop that had to fix my squealing brakes (after I had new brakes put in 2 weeks ago) and were inching down the sloping driveway. I looked out the window and there were swarms of bugs coming up from the front lawn. Since I already had dusted my potentilla bushes, the burning bush, and the geraniums with Sevin (ack! poison!) in order to do battle with the few beetles I had seen, I was blown away by how many there were flying around our lawn and neighbors' lawns.
My first stop after picking up my van was to the big box home improvement store and right at the cash register in the Garden area were the Bag the Bugs system. Cool. I bought the starter kit and the stake kit. Ran my other errands, got home and put the Bug Bag up around 3 pm. Wow, it drew Asian Beetles like flies to you know what! You could even see them drop into the bag - when the sun hit the bag in the right way. It was fascinating to watch.
Well, last night, LH goes to remove the bag and we estimate it was well over a half pound of Asian beetles. He put up the new bag and if this keeps up, I'll have to go buy more bags. I had no idea there were so many of these nasty buggers around and in our lawn. They have gotten worse over the last three years or then I simply never noticed before how they just come up from the ground. I tend to think it's just gotten worse. Don't know how I would've missed seeing them as I am somewhat attentive to my home and environs.
If we have bagged hundreds of them then there must thousands upon thousands underground. The bag sure beats having to put poison on my plants.
So, those bug bag systems do work, just in case you needed or wanted to know!
We will win this war!!!

1. Barbeques or picnics (or are they essentially the same thing?)?
Actually, grilling. In my midwestern mind, barbeque is slathered in sauce and
grilling is anything without barbeque sauce. Besides, with grilling you can
bring the food into the cool comfort of your home without bugs and hot, humid

2. The park/the lake/the beach or staying at home simply being?
At home simply being or with family over for eats. Usually, I am busy
preparing food to serve or cleaning bathrooms!!!

3. Fireworks - love' em or hate 'em?
I did like watching the neighbor's (don't know the people as they live across
the meadow from us)fireworks which were near professional. However, they set
them off even after 11pm Saturday night. Ben and Jett were none too happy and
poor Ben barely had his last call outside, when a big boom went off and
frightened him near to death.
4. Parades - have you ever taken part - share a memory...
Nope, not really. It seems to me when I was a Girl Scout our troop took part
in a Bataan Day Parade, idiosyncratic to this one Chicago suburb. Don't
really remember much about it. LH used to take part in a couple parades with
the SAR colorguard. But if it's too hot, you won't find him taking part.

5. Time for a musical interlude - if you could sum up holidays in a piece of music
what would it be?
I've always been partial to Copeland's Rodeo and the larger work of which it is
a part. Can't think of it at the moment. Must be a senior moment!

Hope you had a great fourth!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

For Gardeners:

Tomatoes are on the vines, still green and small, some bigger and there are flowers still turning into fruit. My mouth is already watering in anticipation of picking the first ripe tomato and enjoying it's warm, full of flavor deliciousness.
"But then I taste a tomato that tastes tomato.
I pick ripened corn and plop it into a pot of boiling water.
I slice the fresh zucchinis, snap the beans, and sit down
to a feast of flavors
that must be like the feasts of Eden before the serpent said a word.
So I thank you for this garden, God, and for the strength to tend it in
my way, and for my tiny harvest, and for the tang and savor of each bite."
(robert jones)

Weird, but my capital 'j' has ceased to work on the keyboard. Must be the PC demons at work. I may end up typing only small case "j's" if this keeps up.
Oh the wonders, the frustrations, of techno-gadgetry!!!