Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up:
On Tues. I drove home for the evening and cooked the stock and the white and wild rice.
On Wed. I commuted in and back home that evening, I sauteed items for the stuffing, made the stuffing, made the cheeseball, and made the Pumpkin Mousse Dessert.
On Thurs. I polished silverware, washed the crystal, wiped the china, set the table, did laundry items, washed the turkey, stuffed the turkey, washed and peeled potatoes, cleaned 2 toilets. Actually, had time to put my feet up for a bit.
Company arrived - FIL and SILS.
LH keeps checking turkey - no drippings to baste. Rather odd.
Timer pops, I cook mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, try to make gravy from few drippings. Put rolls into oven. Get all on the table. Stick extra stuffing into oven to bake.
Enjoy dinner with family.
Clear table. Brew coffee. Cut dessert, enjoy dessert.
Decarcass our "Arnold" Turkey - yes, we had an Arnold Schwarzenegger turkey - big (21 lbs) and sinewy/muscley. Never had such a sinewy turkey. It wasn't dried out even with little drippings. It was just a big turkey that must've worked out alot!!!
Make freezer and doggy bags.
FIL & SILS go home with leftovers.
I wash and dry all the crystal, china and silver by hand plus all the pots, etc.
I am too tired to put the china away and soak the turkey pan.
This weekend I got all my Christmas cards and letters done. I started last weekend already. LH signed his name, put the dog prints on them and on Sat. morning, I was off to the post office to get overseas stamps and holiday stamps. How nice to put them all into the mail slots.
I wrapped my sister's family gifts. Now I have to find a box and pack it well.
Still have two more boxes to wrap up all items and pack to send.
Trying to stay ahead, especially when I am not home in the evenings to take care of some of these things.
This year, we won't be putting up a tree - just not possible with my living mostly away from home. LH has 2 Christmas Eve services and a Christmas Day service. It won't leave us much time to enjoy Christmas together, and I leave the next day to return here.
I know that this wilderness time will last longer than Advent. I know that this lonely exile will last the year. Such are the sacrifices of ministry and this particular time.
I know that God is making a way through this wilderness time and does not leave me alone in this exile. It is hard though. I cling to the hope I know in Christ Jesus and to the God I know and love. I look to the time of deliverance. But, first I must live in, with and through this wilderness. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Monday, November 23, 2009

LH is vacuuming the house
LH is dusting
LH is mopping the floors
LH has bought the majority of Thanksgiving Day ingredients
LH will be picking up our ordered fresh turkey and produce still needed
LH is putting supper in the oven on Tues. & Wed. evenings
LH had to clean the dogbed from from doggy barf
LH had to clean the dining room curtains from a Jazz "accident"
LH is dusting the dining room and living room
LH is experiencing what I have done on a regular basis. Maybe not such a bad thing as he begins to realize all I have done in tending house and serving a church. I can't do any of this while away from home and can only do so much in a day and a half when I am home.
I did manage to put the Thanksgiving Shopping list together for LH. I composed our Christmas letter in English and German, got them all printed and am signing them and addressing envelopes and cards. They will be ready for his signature.
I have wrapped my FIL and SILS' Christmas gifts (which I also purchased) and they are ready for Thanksgiving Day. So, I am doing the things I can while away.
LH will have 2 Christmas Eve services and a Christmas Day service which means we will not see FIL & SILS over Christmas and New Years. We'll consider ourselves fortunate to have a Christmas Day dinner on the table and talk with family on the phone.
This year, all is different and unsettled. But God has cared for us and for that we are extremely grateful.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reflecting so deeply on Cheesehead's news and which touches the still healing wound of my soul, I am truly wondering what is happening with our churches. The majority of churches seem to be struggling for survival - even the ones who are welcoming and hospitable, use screens and power point, blended worship, etc.
I have heard that even the Big Tree Community in the posh suburb of Chicago has attendance down by 23%. That's almost a quarter of worshippers and attendees.
Has church become irrelevent to folks, to our society?
Are people not wanting to live deeply any more - wanting simple answers, attend a feel good motivation session and not be any more involved?
If that is where people are right now, than our churches will continue to struggle. What is a community of faith? Bound together in the love and faith of Christ, developing a deeper life, hearing what we need to hear and not merely what we want to hear, being asked something of ourselves and our lives, to give sacrificially out of love for Christ and one another, to make disciples, to know there is no greater joy in life than to be held in God's love, to sing, to pray, to challenge, to support one another in our life's journey of faith and relationship with God.
I suppose I'm old fashioned, not with it. But I don't watch or like reality TV which is mindless and takes not much creativity, imagination, or intelligence to produce. where is the sharp comedy of MASH, FRAZIER, SEINFELD, etc.
We have become mediocre and have settled for things mediocre. We fill our lives with triviality on Facebook and Twitter. Do I really care or need to know that you're wearing pink flipflops or having a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. Let me know how it is with your soul, where you find true and lasting hope, where the grace is in your life, what are your hopes and dreams.
I pray for our churches, I pray for Cheesehead, for pastors serving churches. It is a dark time.
So many of our churches are anxious about their survival and it seems that their pastor is an easy target for their underlying anxiety, even if the pastor has done much to allay anxiety, to be prophetic, to build up, to be faithful to God's intent and desire. I wonder how many more pastors will bear the burden and the brunt of such anxiety. LH and I both have and I know there are others.
Church is us together in the Lord. It is not the pastor's fault for these cosmic shifts that are presently occurring. We all must look to ourselves, see that we all bear responsibility, see that we are all imperfect and yet, held in grace. Unfortunately, it is usually the pastors that are the scapegoats. (except for the ones who are truly incompetent).
And in the end, we are called to bring God's message, to love and to serve, to embody hope, and to keep trusting God through all the changes and chaos in the universe and in our lives. We keep going because the message of God's love, grace and transformation is too great not to share.
In this near Advent time, Come, Lord Jesus, Come. Take hold of the hurting and bring the shalom of your healing. Embrace the anxious and fill them with hope. Bring your joy to our churches. Sound the love song of our lives that the universe may reverberate with your goodness and glory. Amen.
That is my prayer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


LH just called and Jazz, who ran into the bluebird house pole last Sat. couldn't be stitched at this point. His back leg has quite a raw spot made much bigger by his licking. We may have to put the Elizabethian collar on him. It wasn't too bad on Sat. but his licking and its location - over a bony and bent part of his upper leg - certainly contributed to his present condition.
Needless to say, LH dug up the bluebird house pole, filled in the hole with dirt.
We haven't had nesting bluebirds in 4 years due to the sparrows, nasty little creatures, who keep kicking the bluebirds out.
I'll be able to see Jazz tonight and give him some comfort!
What a grey!
Rekindling the Joy of My Faith -

Given our present tenuous situation, being away from home most of the week, starting a new position serving a church, and still healing, I pray that God will rekindle the joy of my faith and life.
I am grateful for the hammock of God's love, care and provision for us thus far.
I am grateful for the opportunity to serve this community of faith.
I am grateful for LH and the boys and my family.
I am grateful for our health.
Yet, that spark, the fun, the joy, the delight that once was so much a part of me has disappeared and I so long and desire for its return.
It feels like Holy Saturday - after the death of Good Friday - but that long day before Resurrection.
I take heart that even Mother Teresa had a dark night of the soul that lasted for years. I pray that mine won't last so long. Yet, inspite of her doubt, her longing for closeness with God, Mother Teresa continued to live her faith, to serve in love and with compassion. She is my example these days and my inspiration.
My spiritual discipline for now is to keep living my faith, even though God feels so far away, to serve in and with the love I've known in Christ Jesus, to be grateful, to pray to the Great Silence, and to continue to seek the presence of God.
'Tis all that I can do and leave the rest to God and God's Spirit. Ah, yes, and to hold onto hope for the coming Resurrection.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Started my new interim position on Sunday, All Saints' Day.
Spent two days moving into the apartment - kitchenware, bedding, clothes, shoes,etc.
Pretty lonely not being able to be home with LH and the Boys!
The first week or two are always the hardest in starting somewhere new. It's even more difficult when I can't go home in the evening.
LH and I spent the first year of our marriage in a commuter marriage and now 22 years later, here we go again.
I will not lose heart or get too discouraged. My new mantra.
I am counting the days - 2 1/2 till I can go home. Will have to take my laundry with me and a couple other things that will just get carted back and forth every week.
How can things be so unsettled and chaotic at this point in our lives?
There is absolutely no stability in the lives of pastors or clergy couples. We get lulled into a time of "normalcy" but then it changes and one or both of us are seeking new positions. There is nothing settled about God or about serving God.
How I miss LH, the Boys - Jett and Jazz - and the haven of my own home.