Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Today was a day of puttering. After breakfast, I took in a pair of linen capri pants at the waist. Better now. I don't have to keep hiking them up.
Then LH and I drove to Trader Joe's since it was such a beautiful day. We found some of our favorite items and tucked them away in the cart.
I found it providential that TJ's had one last curled parsley plant left amongst their herbs. Mine in the garden is going to seed and isn't producing much. I toyed with the idea of buying a new parsley plant and there it stood before me. It was grown in Canada and is now planted in my herb garden. Perhaps, it will be more hardy because it was grown in Canada!
I pinched my geraniums deadheading them, which is a daily task. They do take tending and I am rewarded with lots of red blooms and red stained left thumb and index finger!
It is a breezy day, in the mid '70's with a bright blue sky and clouds that look like God spilled a bag of cotton balls that are now suspended in the sky.
I continue to read a novel I bought in England last summer and only now am getting time to read it.
Yesterday, I finished my dossier and will need to make some photocopies and send out a few.
I have yet to take my suitcase in from the garage and unpack it. That will happen tomorrow. Every day, I have something planned. Of course, there are all manner of things that need tending and doing. I am not at any loss for things to do. I could clean out all the cupboards (which do need it) and I could clean out the china cabinet and dust the glass shelves and wash all the crystal and heirlooms. Perhaps, that will happen before too long.
Today is a day meant for puttering. I haven't puttered in a long, long while. There is a quiet, slow, deliberateness to puttering. It is a different way to be, without deadline, without something just having to be done or someone to be seen, or a phone to answer, a sermon to write, or prayers to craft.
In the evening, I will water the front the flower beds as they need it. And tomorrow evening, I will water again the herb garden and perhaps even, give the tomatoes some tomato food. But that will be tomorrow. Today, I'm just going to putter and take the day as it comes - a gift to slow down and to just be. Thanks, dear Lord, for time to putter.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A New Rhythm -
I am slowly settling in to this new and different rhythm of being home and being between positions. I am working on my dossier. I am constantly having to remind myself what day of the week it is as my old routine and living from Sunday to Sunday has changed.
Each day, I put away the remaining stuff from the apartment. The little dorm coffee pot bit the dust. The water was so bad where I lived that even the PUR filter didn't help much and the vinegar and Dip-it cleaner didn't help and the water wouldn't even trickle through into the glass carafe. IT was only $15.00 two years ago, so I guess I can't expect much and it did last until my last day at the apartment although I had to start it before I showered as it took so long to brew.
Today, I have 3 lbs of zucchini (on sale at the grocery store) to shred in the food processor. I'll freeze it for later when I'll make the most yummy zucchini patties.
The kitchen and dining room tables need to be cleared off and decluttered and I suppose, I should dust.
Then it will be on to flesh out my statement of faith for my dossier and it will be done!!!
I weeded the herb garden where the chamomile grew wildly unrestricted and it was thinned out and the tomatoes were staked. There are three small tomatoes already on the plants. I cut down the unruly chives. I pulled grasses and weeds from the flower beds - some rather prickly things and thinned out the pincushions which the honey bees, bumblebees enjoy and the finches feast on for the seeds. The Dr. Suess flowers (bee balm) are blooming and the Coneflowers will soon be blooming as well as the Butterfly bush. Everything has grown tall, taller than last year. The potentilla bushes are scraggly and all over the place. Need to trim them next Spring. The Chinese Lanterns are profuse and I could pluck them when they turn orange and sell them for decorations!!! I pulled them all out last fall and they came back even more numerous this spring. It all started out with 2 little, weak stems!!! Be ye forewarned if you think of planting them!
So, it is a new, unsettling, different rhythm. I am not used to being without a paycheck or without serving somewhere.
The greys are happy that I am home and seem rather content with the situation, sighing, snoozing, and getting attention whenever they seek it out. However, my being home all the time does not contribute to the kibble in their dishes or cookies in the pantry.
The sooner my dossier is done and circulating the greater my hope.
I suppose I ought to enjoy and savor this breathing space and being home. If only I didn't feel so guilty over not working!
God gives us grace sufficient for each day and that is how I expect to live - day by day, one day at a time, in faith and in trust.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jett got his stitches removed Tuesday and the elbow is looking pretty good. He's still on antibiotics and the thankfully, we can no longer call him, Bigfoot!!! He's got a greyhound foot and lanky leg again!!
He's put on a couple more pounds slowly and that is good, too. We are so thankful that he is doing so well. Of course, Jett is still having to wear his two inflatable donuts on his neck to prevent him from licking the wound.
He'll feel even better when he won't need to wear them any more.
I have been working on my dossier and there's still more to update. Tomorrow will be a good day for that.
I spent 6 hours cleaning house today. Vacuuming door and window frames, corners from ceiling to floor and baseboards which LH neglected to do during my year and a half away from home most of the week. I am exhausted. I still have to dust and I need to vacuum the great room lamp shade. But it looks far more shiny and clean. I guess I forgot that two humans and two dogs can create such dirt. The shower stall is still a work in progress, but more clean than it was. The hard water here is always a problem. And LH forgets things like wiping down the top of the shower frame and door and the shower head. I suppose it takes a woman's touch to do those things.
I did a bit of shopping yesterday, which I haven't done in a while and really can't afford. But I did find a few things and the one t-shirt that matches the broomstick skirt (which were all on sale, plus an extra percent off coupon)and when I returned home much later in the afternoon and was cutting off tags to wash, didn't the t-shirt still have the plastic security tag on it. The darn salesclerk wasn't paying attention and forgot to check all the pieces and remove it. Now, I have make another 20 minute trip to the store (and the gas) and have it removed. Not my mistake, but it will cost me extra. It seems as though you have to watch each clerk whether at the grocery store ( not getting overcharged or getting the correct change back) and the other store clerks and make sure they do their job. Honestly, I, as a customer, shouldn't have to worry about such things and yet, I find I do. Whenever, I'm not paying attention to the clerk something goes wrong. Customer service is just atrocious in America. No one wants to calaim responsibility for making a mistake or missing up or not knowing the answer and the customer or client has to do all the leg work and checking, and double-checking. Certainly, there is much room for improvement in customer service in all aspects of the American life. Corporate, retail America, wake up and give us the customer service we deserve by providing you business. We should be treated well, not ignored because two employees are having a conversation about plans for the weekend and not acknowledging a customer's presence, or making mistakes that add extra time and effort not on the clerk, but on the customer. Some clerks just don't pay attention, or really care about what they are doing. It all just irks me.
Maybe, I'm just cranky from cleaning house all day!!!
At any rate, it's an extra trip I hadn't planned on making tomorrow when I could have been working on my dossier. But, it will get me out of the house for a bit tomorrow. So, perhaps, there is that grace in the whole thing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I am glad to be home again. I have unpacked most everything, except one suitcase and few things still on the dining room table. The greys are delighted to have me home with them. Bigfoot Jett is doing well despite his still swollen lower leg and foot. It appears to have gone down some, but he still has a bigfoot. Tomorrow he gets his stitche removed. I pray that Jett is healing well.
I am thankful that it didn't rain on Thursday and Friday as the meterologists predicted. Which meant that all the many trips up and down the rickety wooden steps on Thursday with clothing and bedding, and LH's and my trips on Friday with toiletries and kitchen stuff all remained dry.
I did much laundry and put all the extra bedding and clothing away.
It was strange to be home yesterday and not make the trip to the church town on Saturday after dinner. I have to get used to this new rhythm of not serving a church.
I spent the morning on the frustrating task of updating my dossier which didn't save the first time and I had to rewrite most of the narrative. Then I hit the wrong button and submitted the incomplete, darn thing.
Can they make it more complicated and frustrating? They also changed my number and password.
I think I'll let it go for awhile and then return to it or call headquarters and see how the can fix it for me to continue working on it.
At this rate it will take a week to get it done, especially if it doesn't save properly and I have to keep retyping the same darn info over and over again. What a complete waste of time!
As long as it takes to receive a call, you should only have to update your dossier every other year.
Today, I will be making macaroni salad for dinner. It's been a couple years since I made any and have a real taste for it. Homemade is much better than the stuff you buy at the gocery store.
We will be havng to live very lean without much income.
I did finish, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which I started last year!
Now, I can move on to a couple other books that have been waiting in the wings.
This will be a week of adjustment and back to regular house cleaning on days when LH is at the church so he is not underfoot! That will come Thursday!
Just glad to be home and will NOT miss the apartment where I roasted in the summer and froze in the winter.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Good-byes -
It has been a week of good-byes and folks here have been so gracious and loving. Indeed, they have brought me to tears. I will miss them, but I also know, it is time for them to move forward and they have a great, young pastor coming in, and they will be in God's good hands. The good-byes are still difficult and hard. They have welcomed me into their home, homes and lives. One 95 year old, cried and said, "But I wanted you to do my funeral service"!!!! I take it as a compliment that she trusted me to provide comfort and care for her family. I, of course, am greatly relieved that she is still doing well, despite some health issues and is still sharp. I hope she'll be around for a few more years.
So, I leave with some very special gifts and a heart and spirit warmed in the grace of Christian love. Sometimes I feel as if it is more than I deserve. I have felt more loved and cared for in all my many interims than I ever did in my installed position. Go figure. Perhaps, the affirmation is God telling me that being a wandering Aramean is not so bad. Afterall, didn't Jesus and Paul spend their days roaming the countryside?
But, the good-byes are the most difficult for me, even though I am often glad to leave certain things, challenges, people, behind.
And I know the cycle will be begin again, to get to know a new place, people and the community of faith they are. And to pray for God's help and grace to meet the challenges, and to guide them through a time of uncertainty as a non-anxious presence.
One last Session meeting this evening, and I am free to go back home (well, after I load up the van, tomorrow). But, a part of this Body of Christ will be ever with me and I will bear the imprint of their love upon my soul.
I give thanks to God for them, for being blessed to serve here, for such grace and love in the midst of my dark night. God is indeed with us, even in our dark nights and loves us. Thank you, dear Lord.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Jett still has bigfoot. It hasn't gotten any worse. The bandage is not to tight since I can get my finger or two fingers between his leg and bandage. He did barf up a little last night. LH will monitor him today.
We did get some sleep the next night. Apparently, the Xanax helped him to relax. It took pretty quick effect, but that silly grey fought it for two hours. His hips were swaying, he was unsteady on his feet, he stumbled around, but would he lay down and stay there? NO! Finally, after two hours of this, he did succomb to rest. He's been good ever since and we haven't had to give him anymore.
Maybe, I may need some after my last day here on Wednesday. So, much anxiety about what will come next and preparing myself for something new.
With interim ministry it is always about endings and begininnings and endings and beginnings....
My last Sunday was good, even if the congregation was a bit subdued. They had a farewell coffee hour with homemade blueberry muffins and cookies, and of course, I was the last one there!!!! I left with a few touching gifts and it was hard to say good-bye. What a great community of faith, but they are so ready to move forward and I am not the one to take them there but the new pastor coming in will. So I leave them in God's good hands.
I will not miss the apartment. I will not miss Saturday's leaving home after supper to return. I will not miss the hour drive. I will not miss the cold of the apartment with spaceheaters that cost an arm and a leg to heat during the winter. I will not miss the unbearable heat in the summer - especially this year since I sold my wimpy air conditioner from last year.
Three fans didn't do much and I drove home on the really hot nights.
One new tire and two new windshields later, I am glad to return home.
Ministry is lonely enough, difficult enough, without being able to sleep in one's own bed, in one's own home, with spouse and furry companions. It has been emotionally very hard on me these 19 months. I struggle with separation, probably because we spent our first year of marriage separated by 400 miles, an 8 hour drive, and only seeing each other once or twice a month. That was enough to last me a lifetime. AT least this time, if I really needed to go home, it was possible.
It is time for me to move on to the next thing God has in store. I am trusting and praying that something will come before too long.
Three more nights, then clean out the apartment and I'm home again!!!
Thanks be to God.

Friday, June 10, 2011

LH had to take Jett to the Vet on Thurs. afternoon. We knew his leg was swollen from the surgery and it looked bigger than last time. So, LH gathered him up and drove to the Vet. They took his bandage off and said it was good we hadn't waited any longer.
So, Jett had one greyhound leg and foot and one that looked like it belonged to an English Mastiff!!! Ergo, Bigfoot Jett!!
The swelling went down and looked much better this morning, after an awful night of Jett sleeping in the grass and LH getting me up at 3 am and he going to bed. I slept on the couch and checked on Jett outside from time to time.
Finally, at nearly 6 am, Jett came in. His wound, unbandaged since the trip to the Vet, had a little pooling of blood. Finally, he laid down in the dog bed.
Today, the regular Vet appointment. Jett had a blood blister which they squeezed, cleaned the wound and rebandaged it. Back in the van, up the stairs into the house. He has been anxious ever since: lying down for 20 minutes, getting up , whining, drooling, etc. So, I called the Vet and took her up on the offer for a Xanax prescript which I just picked up. Waiting for LH to return from the store with some KauKauna cheese which is the only thing Jett will take medicine in.
Let's see, that makes 5 visits to the Vet and or Animal Hospital in 5 days. We'll keep the tally going. Hoping for a quiet, healing week with Jett.
Maybe, we can all sleep tonight. That is our prayer and our hope.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

I am disturbed -
well, probably in more ways than just this one!
Flipping through the TV channels on some evenings, I've run across TLC's
Extreme Couponing. Isn't this just another show on hoarding? Why are people stockpiling all manner of things - toiletries, peanut butter, cleaning supplies to the point that they could open up their own store? For what purpose? Some of the items they stockpile have expiration dates - like toothpaste, candy and pop.
If you're going to keep couponing because you like to get a deal, don't just stockpile, give it to the local foodbank or pantry, or women's shelter. It's more than you could possibly use in two years.
You, couponing people, keep referring to the thrill of the deal. Then what's the point in hoarding all that stuff and letting it go bad.
One was a couple with no children. Another lived in a nice house where at least one bedroom and more looked like a warehouse of cleaning supplies, liters of pop, etc.
Others spend hours pouring over coupons, paper and on-line, and planning their shopping strategy with 5 or more shopping carts filled to overflowing.
Another woman confessed that she cancelled out on family plans, time with sister, a luncheon date, etc. to do this coupon shopping. It is an unhealthy obessession and you are in need of therapy and rehab. You are missing out of life and relationships. Seek help!
And, of course, because of you, when I go to buy my single tube of toothpaste with my coupon, the shelf is empty, because you had to buy an enormous quantity to sock away in your basement or rooms.
I find it so very disturbing that you feel compelled to stockpile and hoard to the point that you could open your own store.
Get a life, spend time with your family, volunteer, donate your stockpiles that will expire to those in need. You'll feel even better.

Spiritually speaking, I can only refer to Jesus' words that are so true -
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)
I hope you wake up before your life is over and realize what you have missed and how much you could have done with your life, your gifts, your stockpiles of Snickers, Seven-Up, Tide and Lysol.
Although TLC probably airs this to raise awareness, it's merely sad and disturbing and I cannot watch it.
Surely, I am not the only one.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Jett Update -
Jett got through surgery well. The Vet was able to carve out some nodules.
He is recovering at the Clinic until tomorrow. Thanks be to God!
It will be hard to wait until tomorrow to see him, but I know it's for the best for him and for us.
Thanks for any and all prayers.
Today Jett is having surgery, again, on the same left elbow. I dropped him off early this morning and sometime today, the Vet will carve out some more onerous tissue and stitch him back together.
We are requesting that he spend the night and get more anesthesia out of him before coming home. It was such a nightmare 7 months ago. He was up all night not knowing what to do with himself. Couldn't stand for long, yet too wired, upset, too sleep, had to go out which took all his energy and then flopped down in the grass for 20 minutes before he had the strength to stand up again and then I had to lift his hind end up the two steps into the house. I was up 24 hours and not my best self. I can't do that again.
I just pray all will go well and my dear, lovely Jett will have a few more months with us and grace our lives with his handsome face and good looks, his elegant being, and just the beautiful grey that he is.

Saturday, June 04, 2011


Summer Reruns Friday Five
It's that time of year when the only new things on television are music/dance competitions (the 21st century answer to variety shows?). Yes, it's the season of reruns.

This week the clock turned back to last fall and the Glee kids went back to school and still got "slushied," and Michael hired his nephew on The Office, which was not something even he would be likely to repeat.

In honor of this annual Time Warp, please share five things worth a repeat. These could be books, movies, CDs, recipes, vacations, or even TV shows.

1. Reruns of "Frasier" still make me laugh. The witty erudite comedy never
fails to amuse me. I have missed the show.

2. "Under the Tuscan Sun" will undoubtedly be popped into the DVD player
again sometime. One of my favorites.

3. Asian Cole Slaw will be on the menu several times during the summer.
Refreshing, cool, and goes well with hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.

4. Praying I can make a trip to Chicago/Wisconsin to the Lake House to
see my sister. We usually go every summer for a week. Without my working
it will be a real a challenge to be able to go. Perhaps, I may have to
go by myself without LH. And it just won't be the same.

5. Hoping to have enough tomatoes to make 4 quarts of lasagna sauce again
this year and using the fresh herbs in my garden.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Hard to believe that I'm down to my last two Sundays here in my interim.
The end has come way too fast. But needed to come. I wander off into the unknown and back home. Have to do transitional health care. I try not to get too anxious, but it is really difficult. I cannot believe that we are in such a situation. It is like living into your worst nightmare and live into it we must. I am trying to be faithful and meet God here, but the great Silence is still silent and I struggle and wrestle in hope, and faith, doubt and trust, disappointment and anger, fear and grace...
I pray that something will work out soon for us and that we will not have to be parted too far for too long. I simply can't do that again for greater distance or longer time.
I remind the church folks of God's providential care for bringing us together and how primed they for their new pastor - all set to go, new youth group forming, new cooking class for the community, choir restarted with new choir director, 2 baptisms, and 2 reaffirmations of faith in the last two weeks, and the exciting adventure in ministry and mission that is before them.
And for me, there is nothing but a yawning black hole of emptiness and nothingness. I will be brave and trusting in God, the Great Silence, as I step into this black hole of my future...