Monday, May 11, 2009


The Geraniums arrived and I bought 6 red ones, along with 2 Silver Falls vines and on Friday planted them in my flower boxes and attached them to the porch railing. Then I mixed up some nectar and put the hummingbird feeder out. It's a wee feeder that hangs from a standing hook in my flower box.
I also did more weeding. The lupine has come up, the poppy plant is wildly growing, my forget-me-nots came back and are blooming, the Pin Cushions have taken over and have buds, the Dr. Suess flowers (Bee Balm) are abundant, but the Butterfly bush seems to have not remembered to come back and neither has the Larkspur. Two on the list to replace.
I still have to get some marjoram from the Herb Fair this weekend. But the other herbs are in except for the Basil. Ahh, the wisdom of a 50 year old that has lost a Basil every year for the past 5 years. I'm outsmarting nature this year and am waiting til the last frost date. Good thing, since they are predicting a light frost or near frost tonight.
If only I could keep the weeds and grasses at bay. 'Tis an ongoing job to weed. Little by little it all gets done and some I learn to live with knowing I can never eradicate them all. (Probably could, if I used Preen. However, Preen inhibits the growth of seeds of plants that reseed themselves (sometimes my snapdragons do) and perenials that drop seeds and spread themselves (which I wanted my perenials to do).
So, there, I live with weeds and among weeds. And some weeds are kinda nice and flowery you just have to watch that they don't take over and choke out the good flowers.
Sometimes, I have to let the weeds grow because I don't want to damage pulling out something good, like my anemones and crocuses, or young bee balm. When the flowers are done blooming and the weeds rise up, I can tell by the leaves which are which and pull the weeds unmercifully. Sometimes, I can't tell til the weed is bigger, that it's a weed and not something I planted!!!!!
One weed I've tried to grow is Milkweed. I started the seeds indoors last March thinking that by June, I could plant them outside!!! They are the slowest growing seeds that turned into thess fragile spindly stems with leaves. I nurtured them all spring, summer, fall and winter, even repotting them, always watering them. Now, a year later, I decided it was time and planted them at the side of the house by the backyard fence. They get sunlight, but shade from the fence. I'll just have to remember to water them since they are under the overhang and it doesn't get as wet.
They are on their own and have to stand for themselves!!!! Now, they are a weed and should propagate well, one would think. I have cared for them over a year and it was time for them to grow deeper roots and find their place in the world. I hope they make it. Will check on them this evening. Still the nurturer who can't entirely let go!!!
There grows my garden...

If anyone is interested in spending time with John Bell of the Iona Community, our Synod is hosting a retreat June 21-23, 2009 at Colombiere Retreat Center, Clarkston, MI (just outside Detroit). It begins Sunday evening 7 pm (registration 6 ish pm) and runs through noon on Tuesday. Cost is only $160.00 and is payable to the Synod of the Covenant, 1911 Indianwood Circle -B, Maumee, OH 43537-4063. Unfortunately, our Synod is not geared for receiving money on-line, but a check can be sent to the Synod.
John will be engaging our imaginations and will invite us to discover the ten things we never knew about Jesus.
This is open to all denominations, not just Presbyterians and is open to clergy and lay alike.
Just wanted to put the information out there, incase some MI and Northern OH folks or even further away, would want to spend some quality retreat time with John Bell.
If you want more info - comment please with your e-mail and I'll get back with you.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Things have been a bit tumultuous around here. Some dissatisfaction, some ineffective communication, etc.
One Mission/Outreach member at a recent meeting brought up surveying our 200 members as to why they aren't coming to church. Our membership has been fairly steady (confirmands equaling out those who've died).
Two hundred members? There were about 150 (actually somewhat less) when I arrived here and we are at about 130 (not counting non-confirmed children). Of those, several are in retirement homes or home bound. Some of those were coming to church when I arrived but age and health problems have taken their toll.
We have a few friends of the congregation that we see as members who haven't formally joined, but worship with us regularly.
I sense an underlying anxiety about their future and though I am willing to help them deal with it, I believe that I will bear their fear. Perhaps, it is time for me to move on and time for another to take them into the future. That is still being discerned. This is the year of my 25th Ordination anniversary. It will be a rough year ahead.
25 years of ministry! Where has the time gone? I have accomplished nothing, only served as I hope and pray, God has desired for me to do. I haven't as some Christians would say, brought anyone to Christ. I hope that in some small, loving, caring ways, I have brought Christ nearer to some, young and old alike.
I cannot point to great numbers joining the church. I cannot point to a new church building, education wing or worship center. I cannot point to a bursting endowment fund. You will not find my picture lining the wall of a church hall. You will not see my name on any plaque. Although, if you look hard, you might find a baptism record, ordination of elders and deacons record, wedding or funeral record where my name is written down as the officiating minister. And if you were enjoyed a challenge, you would find my name in the records of old Session, and Church Council minutes. My name graces no authored book. I will not be found having served any long pastorate.
I can only point to Christ my Lord and the ones with whom I have journeyed in faith serving where I was called as prison chaplain, interim minister within 3 denominations, spiritual director and installed pastor. I can point to a silly skit, a humorous newsletter blurb, a funny announcment from the pulpit, a prayer with a dying member, tears shed with those in pain over some loss or medical prognosis, money given and forgotten but used for countless mission projects and the church, sitting in court with another, kissing the forehead or cheek of that sickly, elderly bed bound one, raising my voice in song and praise to the Lord my God, sharing a funny joke with a lonely homebound one, bringing a casserole to a very sick one, peeling more potatoes than I ever have in my whole life at the homeless shelter, moderating countless meetings, holding someone else's baby, splashing the waters of baptism on infant and adult alike, placing my hand on the head of those ordained, breaking bread and sharing the cup reminding those partaking of God's complete love of them, seeking to offer words hope and comfort for a funeral and afterwards, when everyone has left and a week or two has past and grief is still raw, seeking to offer words of hope and blessing to two who join their lives as one and knowing that there will be much before that will challenge their bonds of love that they can not even begin to imagine, (but I can). This is all I have to show for my 25 years as a minister - not much, just a handful, a small offering to God on my journey of faith and life. But, I trust it is enough, humble and flawed though it all was and is, yet, somehow overflowing with grace. And I know it is enough. Thank you, Lord, for this priviledge to serve you in this time and this place. I look to you and for what is yet before me and us. Use me, just as you have and just as you will.
The newer grey, Toby, has found yet another way to get our attention and destroy something! On Monday, he took the brand new roll of toilet paper off the holder and sank his teeth all around it and in it like a chew toy. Not one sheet came off the roll. However, each sheet was pock marked with holes!!!! No longer useable.