Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dumb Things Continued - Feeling Naked

Yes, my streak for the year continues. No, I didn't throw out my Trinity Sunday sermon!!! I left my Bible at a nursing home yesterday and will have to take the long way home to retrieve it as I don't want to lose it or not get it back. And because I'm making that trip across the pond next week. And because I feel so naked without it!! Naked without my travel Bible, the one always with me in the car and that accompanies me on all my visits to homes, nursing homes, & hospitals. IT's not my study bible, but it travels with me everywhere in the van and the comfort of its presence I did not really notice until, alas, I reached for it and it was not there.
Dare I even wonder at the next dumb thing I'll be doing!!!???

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Last week I mentioned not being able to find one of my Pentecost sermons. I have now solved the mystery. I threw it out. By mistake, of course. I was cleaning some papers off my desk and noticed I had two red and white Pentecost offering brochures from our denomination. I didn't need two and thought I pitched one. Only it turned out that it was my sermon inside a red and white Pentecost Offering bulletin cover. This sermon was typed on a word processor (obviously its an older one!!!) and I never saved it to floppy disk or flash drive. I've been mourning the loss of this small part of me that is forever in a landfill until it disintegrates into pulp.
One of the dumbest things I've ever done.
Can you top it?

Trust Him when dark doubts assail thee,

Trust Him when thy strength is small,

Trust Him when to simply trust Him

Seems the hardest thing of all.

Trust Him, He is ever faithful,

Trust Him, for his will is best,

Trust Him, for the heart of Jesus

Is the only place of rest.

(source unknown)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Just as Spring arrived early, so now, has Summer arrived early, it being only the end of May! I am hoping that I can survive the heat with three fans in the upper room I am renting. It does get very warm up there.
It is wonderful that it is not raining after a week of rain.
My Siberian Iris are blooming, as is the yarrow, baby's breath, and very soon the poppies. I've a poppy bush with 19 buds on it!!!! But wonder of wonders, my butterfly managed to survive the winter and is coming back!!!
Now if my tomatoes would grow as good as the chamomile, it would be fantastic!!
So there are moments of brightness, things in which to rejoice even in the midst of a dark night. I try not to think about a month or even three months from now. This dark night is teaching me to live in the moment, in the eternal now, otherwise, despair will overwhelm me. I am one who likes to have some inkling of the year ahead, to have some idea of what to plan for, and simply cannot in this dark night. With neither of us employed or serving come fall, what will we do for healthcare and paying the bills? I am and have been praying that God would make a way for us in this vast, undending wilderness, but I haven't as yet stumbled upon it. I am praying that as the summer unfolds, so will something for LH and the next thing for myself.
For now, I will appreciate and savor the beauty of God's creation, I will hold onto the promise I've witnessed in the butterfly bush which has come back from the dead. I trust the promise of Christ and his power to bring to life, the lifeless and dead. It is all that I can do.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The rhododendrons are blooming with a riotuous color of fushia all over the place.
Full, thick blooms which remind me of God's lavishness, abundance, and generosity. Such a profusion of big, bushy colorful blooms, only God could dream up the rhododendron to reflect the abandon of God's grace in our lives, in the life of the world.
I think that I cannot look upon a rhododendron without sensing and knowing God's abundant, lavish generosity. Thank you, God, for rhododendrons and for reminding me of you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


All I want to do today is sleep. Just so tired. And the grey rainy days aren't helping. To sleep, perchance to dream.....
Revgalblopals' Friday Five - Family Trees

Playing along late as usual!

1. Do you have any interest in geneaology?
Yes, I do. My uncle did a lot of work on our geneaoloy. Too bad it
was all hand written (hard to decipher) and in German.

2. Which countries did your ancestors come from?
Switzerland. That's it, pretty much. Land of alps, watches, cheese
and the best chocolate on earth!

3. Who is the farthest back ancestor whose name you know?
From around the time of Napoleon, on my Dad's side. This ancestor
was the headgroomsmen for a local Count whose castle is still
standing, quaint as ever with a moat in the neighboring town from
where both my parents were born. I've been to the castle a few
times and obviously, with present cousins in the horse business,
training, schooling and been in the Olympics, obviously that branch
of the family has had an affinity for horses!

4. Any favorite saints or sinners in the group?
I'm sure there must be some. Probably more sinners. A grandfather
whose business went bust, who liked to ride the trains and enjoy wine
and cigars and meeting people. A grandmother who raised a brood of eight
with her savings. This grandma was adopted and only in the last 20 years did
it come out that her "godmother" was really her birthmother. (I am sure it
was a young unmarried woman who was the birthmom) A grandmother who raised her child as a widow with nary
much income.

5. What would you want your descendants to remember about you?
There won't be any direct descendants to remember me, as we have no children.
On LH's side none had children either and there branch will die out with
the death of LH and siblings.
I doubt I will be remembered much by anyone (perhaps, my niece & nephew will
think fondly of me.)
I guess to be remembered for having loved God, loved as well as she
could, served as faithfully as she was able, delighted in creation,
knew the joy of her salvation, and loved her greys.

Bonus: a song, prayer, or poem that speaks of family--blood or chosen--to you.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


What I did when I went home was a marathon of activities:
- returned home later after a committee meeting
Friday -
- got up at 6:30 am to let the dogs out and give them breakfast.
I also made breakfast, as LH was up and getting groomed for Synod
- had my shower
- went to the bank, dry cleaners, two grocery stores
- unloaded groceries at home, fed the boys lunch, ate lunch also
- drove 20 minutes to shopping area to pick up a bronze metallic
rubber duckie for marriage survival kit I'm preparing for nephew's
wedding celebration. I got two for $.67 - such a deal. Stopped at
a dept. store, afterall, I was already in the neighborhood. Found
two t-shirts.
- stopped at discount dept. store, looking for an old fashioned
egg timer. Not to be found - they are all digital and $10.00-
$19.00. Did find a kitchen scale with pounds and grams for partial
wedding gift (I have a recipe box and have written out many recipes,
a recipe card holder, extra recipe cards and plastic sleeves, an
apron she can sew, etc.) Since many of my Swiss recipes are in grams
I thought my nephew's wife could use a kitchen scale with a good
sized bowl to measure off in pounds and grams.
- stopped at office supply store and found special paper on which to
write and print off all the items in the marriage survival kit.
- stopped at grocery store to pick up something frozen for dinner, which
I forgot earlier
- got home, started my laundry
- let the boys out
- planted my tomatoes and basil
- mnade hummingbird food, filled feeder and put outside
- returned a call and now have a funeral service to do, on Tuesday, for
someone I don't know as I am covering for a neighboring pastor out of town.
- reinforced buttons on shirt jacket and capri's
- ironed said linen shirt jacket & a dress
- unloaded the dishwasher
- made the boys dinner
- made my dinner
- still doing laundry
- pulled weeds
- watched some TV
- went to bed, exhausted
Saturday -
- LH up at 6 am, I am up at 6:30 am
- let the boys out
- feed them breakfast
- change into grubbies, hair is wild-looking
- fertilize the front and back yards
- eat breakfast
- shower
- go to town center Herb & Craft Fair, find a couple little things
stop in hardware/gift shop, find an old fashioned egg timer!!
- go home, get grubby again
- finish laundry
- scrub shower stall
- make lunch for the boys and me
- make cole slaw salad for the church potluck brunch Sunday
- pack up clean laundry
- check e-mail
- gather up some books to take with
- load up clothes in the van
- prepare and eat dinner, ok so LH grilled the meat, I did the rest
- did the dishes
- load up the groceries
- drive an hour
- unload the van
- sermon and service preparation for Sunday
- fall into bed exhausted

It was a non-stop weekend, plus with the concern over the funeral hanging over me.
Met with the family yesterday. The son is an episcopalian priest and graduate of Yale Divinity School. Ya, like that's no pressure whatsoever!!! Fortunately, he wants to speak about his Dad and also do the prayer of commendation and benediction.
So, OK, but I still have to do a message. I pray what I offer brings some comfort and peace to him and the family.
Things will just be hectic for the time being. Next Friday afternoon, I will be wheel-less as the van has to go in for service and I need to complete the marriage survival kit (MSK), type everything up, get the SS Teacher's stuff in bags, and the choir director's items in a gift bag. Then, I have to scroll up the graduates' advice list for next Sunday.
Tonight is the funeral service and tomorrow I have a committee meeting at 6 pm and Session at 7 pm.
I've lost my Pentecost sermon and will have to go home to find it. I will leave Thurs at 1 pm, to make up for time two weeks ago and this week and to retype that lost sermon.
I am so ready for a vacation, but that will be stressful too. At least the first couple days, with the wedding and all.
i would look forward to some time off after this interim ends, but LH's comes to an end this month and that means less income and I'm carrying health insurance. Once, my interim is done, I can only pray that LH will have found a position by then or else we will be up a creek. But, I will not concern myself with that yet. First, getting through the next couple weeks, then the trip and the wedding.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010


It will rain again today as it has most of the week. We are fortunate that we have not flooded here as in TN nor have had any tornadoes as destructive as the ones in OK. Prayers are with the suffering folks in both places.
Had a frost the other night. I was so tempted to plant my tomatoes and basil this past weekend, but knew there might be a frost. Sure enuf! LH is learning to tend to this tender, young plants. He will learn to water the geraniums in the flower boxes and the herbs in the garden. He will learn to refill the hummingbird feeder that I will put out this weekend. He is tending to the boys, and making sure Jett gets his antibiotic twice a day after a mishap with Jazz and Jett at the Vet's last Friday.
All the things I used to tend and see to, now falls on LH's shoulders and he is learning. Perhaps, that is not such a bad thing. Maybe there will be a greater appreciation of all I've done and of me, period. I do miss tending to these things, in the evening after supper, to deadhead the geraniums, to water what needs watering, to pull some weeds, to refill the hummingbird feeder and the finch feeder, to mend, to resew or reinforce a button, or shorten a pair of pants, to give the Boys their cookies, and yes, dare I admit, even to clean some things in the way they should be cleaned. Haven't yet fertilized the lawn - either too rainy and once way too hot. Haven't washed the windows yet either. And the wedding is drawing nearer.
First things, first. The windows can always be washed. If I miss the spring fertilizer, I'll do the summer grub control. And the fall one. The wedding stuff, that has to happen now. One day at a time, one week at a time...somehow I will manage and so will LH.
In between the rain drops and tear drops, we do what we can and leave the rest in God's capable hands, trusting God, for all things.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

National Day of Prayer -

This evening I will be taking part in a Narional Day of Prayer Service. Although, my contemplative nature would have me think of this as a Prayer service and to be reflective of the 7 areas of concern that need our prayers, it seems that the clergy here have other ideas and it will be 1 1/2 hour worship service complete with a sermon (I'll be timing the length), praise choir, and a laying on of hands for folks who need prayer, (although this is not a healing service per se). This was a bit more than I had expected. My prayers for the media will not be overly long. I'd like to pray that God's Spirit would give us the good sense to switch channels if something inane or distasteful is being shown and for the freedom to not see certain movies, even if they are popular, because of violence, etc. I will pray for freedom and discerning spirits. It will be an overly long service on a school night and I, know there will be some long-winded clergy.
(Sigh) It's been a week since I've been home, and after the service, I will have an hour long ride. I hope to home by 10 pm and see my Boys before heading off to bed.
Is there an extra jewel for my crown in heaven?
All these clergymen live at home and will be home within 5 minutes of leaving the church.
One of clergymen, at our meeting, brought up foul language he's heard amongst teens out in public. He has found a town ordinance that forbids it and is garnering support to take these kids to court. Then he brought up the books they read in school.
Oh no...don't ever tell me not to read a certain book! I read Catcher In the Rye, and I didn't go off spouting foul language because I read it in that book! I have a mind and a discerning spirit. Kids should be exposed to a variety of literature, and guided in ways to be reflective and think for themselves. We are not creating mindless robots nor can we insulate kids from everything in the world. WE are to give them firm foundations and deep roots and then give them wings to explore, discern, think through things, reflect and distinquish the between what is good, and truthful and advances the betterment of ourselves and others and the world, and what is merely trash and not worth wasting time and energy on.
There is a Seminary in this regional area that doesn't allow students to read certain commentaries. I think if I were told that in Sem, I would have left the Seminary. Allow me to read, digest, reflect, discern and be stretched by various views on a text or issue.
I have read most banned books!!!!
But, I digress. Do we really need to take kids to court for using foul language or can we just tell them that we find their language offensive and that civil behavior dictates not offending others in public places. (I suppose I would just get laughed at). What does it say about a church that we will take you to court? That's a way to reach young people? Or shall we reach out to them and show them a better way to be in the world? And understanding that sometimes the use of foul language is part of growing up, rebellion, etc. Not that I advocate the use of foul language, mind you. But, there was a time as a teen, when I would pepper my language with friends from time to time.
It's going to be a long day and a long night. Pray for me to hold my tongue and my temper. Pray that the service is shorter rather than longer.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


I get that from time to time. Especially when it's about funerals. The family doesn't trust the interim and finds some clergy who knew their parent when...
True, when you come in as interim, you don't have a history with the congregation. But you do get to know them fairly quickly and their families. And you pick up things from parishioners, and family themselves.
The only interim who really sucked at a funeral was the one who officiated at LH's mom's funeral in a tiny, central IL town. I really felt so bad for Lh and all his siblings.
By the grace of God, I haven't up to this point, ever screwed up a funeral or didn't share relevant things about the deceased and the hope of our faith in Jesus Christ.
However, I have not been trusted on several occasions and been passed over. It has happened again. Just because I didn't know the person "when" doesn't mean that with the help of family (sharing stories) that I can't do a very meaningful service.
It's the not being trusted that grates on me.
The first year as an installed pastor, I ran into that as well, and shared the service with a pastor from out of state, long retired for two funerals. Honestly!
When I am retired, I doubt I will perform any funerals at past places I have served. It should be between the pastor, interim or installed, to officiate. I don't feel I have a need to intervene, or not be able to say, "No". I may attend a funeral, but hopefully, we will be far away from places we've served to make it not a possibility.
I won't linger long over this as I am grateful, to be spared one funeral in a very long week. I wasn't able to go home last Sunday and will not get home 'til at least 9 pm Thursday because of the National Day of Prayer Service in our town. So, I am somewhat relieved.
However, for the future, interims can be trusted to officiate well, and good, and meaningfully.

Monday, May 03, 2010


Many of us have friendships - past and present - with these same qualities. And so today we will celebrate Friday with friendship:

1) Do you remember your first best friend? What did you do together? Are they still in your life?
Depends how far back. Had one best friend, Denise, further up the block from us up until first grade when we moved two blocks away and we got split into different class groups - fast, medium and slow. i was in fast and she in slow. Played games outside, all kinds of tag, and with stuff in each other's homes.

2) Did you ever have to move away or have your best friend move away from you?
Yes, after HS, my best friend got married and moved to Kansas. After several years, three marriages, we lost contact.
3) Are there people in your life now that you can call 'friend'?
My best friend from Seminary who lives on the East Coast so we don't see each other very often, although we talk on the phone frequently. Also, my Seminary roommate, who lives on the West Coast and talk infrequently but send email.
My BFF is my sister.

4) What are some of your favorite things to do with your friends?
Visit them. Can't do much when you live so far apart. I miss that. A lot.
Shopping, lunch, just hanging out.

5) What is a gift friendship has given you?
Support, encouragement, understanding, strength, joy. I do miss
my friends. Pretty tough in ministry when so much time and energy is spent
with parishioners. Doesn't leave much time for cultivating and keeping
friendship in the "normal" sense. Far from families and friends, full days
and weeks with only one day off, is it any wonder, clergy are lonely people.