Monday, December 30, 2013


Here it is, Dec. 30th and I am beset with a whole list of things to be done and attended to.
  I am working on my annual report.
 I need to make some extra star gift words to give out this Sunday as we celebrate Epiphany - a word to guide each person for the year, or to challenge them. They will choose a paper star with a word on it, but without seeing the word and trusting the Holy Spirit has helped them to choose it and will help them to live into it in the new year.
   Then, I have to plan out services for Epiphany season and get it to the part-time secretary.
  Work on the sermon for Sunday.
  Work on the Sabbath Sachets.
   Work on putting the retreat together for the end of January.
   Package and wrap the baby shower gifts for our choir director for Sunday, Jan. 12 when the church
will hold a brunch and shower following worship.
   Go over my Sunday School lesson on Daniel for Sunday, in case, there are enough folks here for
Sunday School.
   Think about a newsletter article for February due January 15th.
Work on the Annual Statistical Report for the denomination.
Think about what I might do for the mid-week Lenten services, if I am still here.
January hasn't even begun and for me it is already full and nearly gone! How can this be?!!?
I hope that I may take a breath, pause and honor the new year about to begin.

Friday, December 27, 2013


It was a hectic Christmas Eve Day - getting up early to tend to the greys and get the bread dough made. Rushed it was that morning. Setting the bread dough in the dining room to rise for a couple hours, while I did dishes, did some last minute preparations for the services that evening. Then it was braiding the bread and putting it in the garage to chill for 45 minutes before sticking it in the oven for an hour.
   At that point, it was lunch time, and going over my reflections for the services that evening. The bread done, I pulled it out of the oven and savored the wonderful smell of fresh baked bread.
   It was time to change, to put my stuff in a bag, and to put on some make-up, which took a few minutes longer than I thought. I rushed out the door, to the gas station to fill up and there was a line inside, guys buying beer and all manner of stuff that could've waited. I was somewhat peeved at the wait, which stemmed from pulling into the gas station, seeing a pump free and just beginning to turn into it when a young whippersnapper pulled in from the opposite direction and I had to park at the pump further away, on a very bitter cold day, while wearing a skirt with hose, and not long pants. Sign. Let it go.
   Pumped and paid for the gas and I was on my way. An hour commute, but traffic was not as heavy as I had anticipated.
    Passed the turn-off to the church and drove directly to the hospital and pulled into the garage and found a space not too far from the garage exit and braved the cold walk over the hospital.
    Made the visit to a parishioner spending the holiday in the hospital with pneumonia. She was more alert, in good spirits, and very talkative. After a breathing treatment, we had communion - hard to be away from family at Christmas, and her church family, and she needed to receive the gift of new born love that day too. Just as we finished communion, the doctor came in and after listening to her chest said it sound much better, but she'd be in for a couple more days. After the doctor left, I had to leave also, watching the time.
    I got back into town and drove to Panera since I had a gift card and warmed up to a cup of broccoli cheddar soup and 1/2 a sandwich. Had to eat around 5 pm since everything closes up at 6 pm Christmas Eve.
    Got to the church and the parking lot was icy. I threw some ice around but it was just going to melt and refreeze. Checked the phone for messages, turned on lights, put my stuff where it needed to be for the services. Folks started to arrive and more help with putting down ice melt - which we really went through.
   The first service went well and ended well. I had about 15 minutes between services to use the rest room and take 10 to just sit down and chill and regroup.
   The second service also went well with the choir and the candlelighting. After greeting folks as they left, it was turn off everything and make sure all was locked up. I had to collect my stuff and use the rest room - after all it is an hour commute.
   Left at nearly 10:45 pm and thankfully, though dark, there was little traffic. Just had to keep watch for deer. Got home at nearly midnight, where LH had beaten me home by a couple hours from his service. The brie was at room temperature and the champagne chilled. I was ready for a little something before hitting the sack and falling into deep sleep.
    Fortunately, our Christmas Day is always quiet with just us two, and the boys. A few phone calls to family, unwrapping gifts, and by afternoon, I was down for the count with a nap.
    Made an easy dinner of asparagus and pastry shells filled with turkey and mushrooms on white cream sauce. I just forgot to thaw the turkey stock needed. Thank goodness for microwaves!!!
    Sadly, my bread left much to be desired. In my haste, I left out the salt and that makes all the difference between a great tasting bread and something so bland and lifeless. What a disappointment!
I will make another tomorrow - this time with salt!!!
    The day after Christmas I cleaned house. LH helped by vacuuming downstairs, with the result that I finished early and made a quick trip to an Alpaca farm to pick up some Christmas gifts for next year. The farm is only open in December and we have to have our packages in the mail early. So, it was best to pick up what I needed now and sock it (pun intended) away until next year. I did manage to pick up some ribbon and bows at the box store for next year.
    All in all, it was a good Christmas. I just seemed to feel more tired this year than in years past. Of course, I'm older now than then as well.
    Basking in the glow of a blessed Advent and Christmas, of feeling very graced, of the wonderful people who grace my life and being gifted with a love so wondrous that brings life anew, fresh hope, and a peace that comes softly and settles in right within you.
    Now it's on to getting ready for the New Year and making more star gift words to hand out on Epiphany Sunday.
    I also have to sew some Sabbath Sachets for a women's retreat. Well, and put the retreat together!
    It will be a busy January it seems, as well!!!
    God will bring me through it.
    In the meanwhile, blessings to you as the old year ends - be thankful, give over the bad things, the disappointments, the hurts, and open your heart and spirit to the adventure of a New Year, and all that God longs to fill you with.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Ahhh...the time is close. I just finished wrapping the last of the gifts. Well, nearly. There's one last gift left to come, on Christmas Eve Day according to LLBean. Seems LH saw the catalogue lying about and took a hankering after some "Wicked Good Slippers" and off I ordered them while dinner was baking! So, it looks like I have one gift to wrap on Christmas morning while LH is showering.
  The mantel is decorated with our Nativity set and the stockings are hung, although nothing ever gets put in them.
   I got the Boys some special holiday cookies, since the treats they like best are from China and I will not buy them any more, until, unless, I can be assured that they will not adversely affect my Greys.
   I still have to write the staff Christmas cards and put them in their gift bags.
   This afternoon, I got my TJ's candle evergreen wreath out of the garage where it has been chilling, at times with a little added snow to keep it as fresh as possible. It now graces our kitchen table with a white candle that smells of balsam and snow; wintery and Christmasy.
   That was the last of the decorating left to do.
   No cookies were baked, nor was a tree bought, put up and decorated. Really don't have the time for it, especially with the mid-week Advent potlucks and services. How did I do it when I was working full-time? But with just the two of us, and with the two dog beds taking up space, and not having to worry about one of the greys thinking, "Hey! An indoor potty!", it just doesn't need to happen.
   I have my Christmas Eve services together. I just have to go over my reflections sprinkled throughout the Christmas Story and the singing of hymns - pretty much a version of Lessons and Carols. It is very hard to preach on Christmas Eve. God's story says it all and the music expresses it all. Hard to improve on any of it. Yet, hopefully, my reflections will give folks something to ponder and treasure in their hearts, will impart the hope we need for our lives, inspire peace to come and manger in our souls, and share a love so great, so wondrous that it would creep in beside us.
    I still have a bread to bake on Christmas Eve morning and some mushrooms to purchase on Monday for our Christmas Day dinner - pastaetli - pastry shell filled with turkey and mushrooms in a white cream sauce, along with asparagus. Simple. Wonderfully delicious. Elegant.
    So, I am more of cinnamon this year and less of panic. I even went so far as to go to the local department store today where I purchased some new Christmas placemats, and Target for New Year's day paper plates and napkins. Thankfully, neither store was stuffed with people, nor were the lines long. I have avoided the shopping mecca of this area all of Advent. Traffic is always a gridlock there.
I did get to Macy's and had to park further away than normal, but it was worth getting a pair of dark grey cords that are simply sumptuously velvety soft and so comfortable and warm and they fit without having to be taken in at the waist. I just had to shorten them a bit.
   I do like to see what's happening - hear the Christmas music play, see the decorations, and people looking for gifts. Since I shop during the year, finding things that family members will like, use, need, or simply enjoy, I can leisurely wander around a store stress-free at this time of year.
   I have Christmas music for my van and will add a couple CD's to play in the next few days. That way I can hear my favorite versions and not BeyoncĂ©'s "All I want for Christmas is You" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", etc. that just get looped around on the radio every hour.
    I am ready for Christmas. My heart is open, my spirit has room. All is prepared or is as prepared as it can be. I am ready to celebrate. I am ready for the quiet of a Silent Night and the warm glow of candles as the Prince of Peace comes and imparts his love and grace, mystery and hope.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


  It was an accidental breaking. LH was going to give the dogs their 10 pm cookies, and Jazz, ever skittish over the tiled floor was hampered by the plastic tote alongside the couch, that contained the Nativity set for over the mantel, and ran over to Renoir's bed where Renoir still was. Renoir shot out past my potted plant, his hip hitting the earthenware pot sitting on top a wicker stool and down crashed the pot, breaking off the saucer rim and spilling some dirt on the kitchen floor.
   It was a lovely pot, beige and brown, unglazed with a connected infinity design around it. I've had that pot for years. So long, that I can't even remember where I got it. It just blended with the beige neutral palette we have here. It survived the move from the City on the North Coast to here. It simply sat there adding some greenery to our dinette. It housed a palm that I've had for more years than I can remember, part of a philodendron which keeps making leaves, and an avocado plant which I grew from an avocado pit and then planted.
   Since I can't water the plants with part of bottom saucer missing, I had to go find a new pot. Well, I knew I would never find such a lovely pot again, not here in this part of the state, and certainly not in December where everything is poinsettias and little Norfolk pines.
   On a snowy morning, with the roads good when I left, I made the quick jaunt to Lowe's, which had nothing. A pot but no matching saucer and either a dark brown plastic saucer that was way, way too big, or little terra cotta ones that didn't quite match. So it was on to Home Depot, and thankfully, they had a glazed sage green pot with viney leaves motif baked into the pot. It'll have to do. The color goes with our palette, but it is not near as nice as one I had. The roads on the way home were getting very snow coated and slippery.
   I was so angry last night, pulling out the vacuum cleaner hose to vacuum up the dirt. The dogs knew I was spewing volcanic angry heat that they were so careless.
   I have to grieve the loss of this pot. It hurts. It's been a part of our lives for a very long time. I have to let it go. It is, after all, just a pot. The plants weren't harmed. The dogs were ok. The porcelain tile undamaged. It is not a huge loss, but a loss, nevertheless. I will never find another one like it.
   So, in the midst of a busy Advent - gifts were wrapped and sent, Christmas cards and letters, signed, stamped and mailed, LH's gifts wrapped but not be-ribboned, the Nativity scene set up, but stockings not yet hung, I have to repot the plants.
  Since the pot is pretty big and ceramic, I had to dig out a tarp I had to repot on the kitchen floor. Don't think I could carry the pot, full of dirt and plants, up the garage steps. It would be too heavy.
   I hope to get to the stockings today, as well as go over my Sunday School lesson and the sermon and service for tomorrow.
   I hope my plants survive the transplanting. I will set the pot on the floor and put the wicker stool away, so it won't be jostled or tip over. Beside the pot is too heavy for the wicker stool.
   I hope nothing else breaks in this short Advent time - excepting for the in-breaking of God's love, peace, grace, hope and joy into our lives, into the world.

Monday, December 02, 2013


It is sad to say that I am beginning Advent already tired. And Advent just began!
Perhaps it was all the preparation for Thanksgiving, the funeral, the arrival of my sister and BIL, and SILS. The busy Friday and slow Saturday morning, but then the laundering of the bedding and towels, and the Thanksgiving tablecloth and putting all of it away, and starting to address Christmas card envelopes and working on the German Christmas letter.
  And here came Advent - and I simply wasn't quite there yet. Oh, I had the sermon, service, and the diaper pins wrapped in a cloth diaper all ready. I, myself, wasn't quite ready. But I will be this week.
  It will go by too quickly and I hope I will be prepared, ready, and awake the closer Christmas comes. But today, I am just tired.
  I light a candle for all those who are weary and bleary-eyed this Advent season.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gratitude creates an energy of goodwill, joy and peace.
Be grateful!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


has indeed, begun.
Yesterday, I had a funeral. What a great family. The husband was ever so caring and visited her nearly every day in the nursing home - at least the one she moved to which was closer to where he was living with his one son. It all went very well. This was the first funeral where the deceased looked less like she did the past year. I was also compensated more than any other funeral from the funeral home. I had no idea what the compensation was - usually it's around $75.00 to, when you're fortunate, $100.00.
The ladies provided a luncheon for more than actually came. All was good.
The funeral took up most of the day and by the time the last lady left, who I helped with getting stuff in her car, I was exhausted. I left about 20 minutes early since I knew I wasn't going to get much more done or out of me at that point. It was a good tired though.
Mostly I feel blessed that the family felt ministered to, and were good with all I did and the church did. That is always the most important.
Today, I went to grocery store, gas station, bank and dry cleaners. I started the turkey stock when I arrived home and the wild rice is cooking. Next will come the regular rice. I have put the stock through the blender and made a mess like always. I still have some clean up to do.
I polished the silver and washed and dried the crystal. Put the tablecloth on the table and the cloths on the side tables. This will save me some work on Thursday.
Tomorrow evening I will make the stuffing, dessert, and the cheeseball and perhaps, if I'm not too tuckered out, wipe down the china and pull out all the bowls, serving utensils, etc. needed. Leaving Thursday morning with cleaning the guest and half bath once more, sanitizing everything, and setting the table while the turkey is roasting. I think things are fairly together this year even with the additional company of my sister and BIL. Can't wait to see them again.
I pray the snow won't be too much, they're predicting around 3 inches.
I pray my commute into church won't be totally horrendous since it's close to the PA border and they are the ones that will have the most snow. Will see how it goes.
The sermon is written for Sunday and I will have Sat. afternoon to go over everything, get the diaper pins ready (in a cradle like wooden crate lined with a cloth diaper) so that we can pin our hopes on Jesus. (from Wild Goose Worship, Cloth for the Cradle.
Now if only I could get Christmas Eve together!!!
First things first. The turkey and then the other will follow.
I have peace today and that is worth all my thanks.

Friday, November 22, 2013


1. Turkey: love it? hate it? self-basted? fry it or roast it? Tofu-turkey? Tell me more. (I’ve only had one roasted turkey come out totally delish so I’m fishing for your tips!)
I wait all year to roast a turkey. First I wash it thoroughly inside, (giblets & neck removed on Tuesday for cooking stock)then I pat it dry. I season with seasoned salt, pepper, chicken rub, and dried sage from my garden. Then I stuff it with my homemade stuffing. LH then sews the turkey shut - with a big needle and cooking twine. We stick in the oven at 400 degrees for the first 20 minutes and then down the roasting temp of 350 or 325 for the remaining time. After the skin begins browning, LH tents the turkey and bastes it, several times with the turkey drippings. Usually comes out wonderful. One year we got stuck with a tough, old bird. Boy was that the toughest turkey we've ever had! I am looking forward to this year's turkey. Last year's was really good. And this year, I have to impress my sister and BIL who'll be joining us!

2. Stuffing: bagged? homemade? sage? sausage? cornbread? oysters? nuts? Got any inspiration for me?
Homemade of course. The stuffing is one small package of wild rice cooked, 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown or reg. rice, cook according to directions, 2 big loaves of cheap white bread torn into pieces and then soaked with 1 cup water and 1 cup warm milk, 3-4 strips of cooked bacon, 1 lb of sweet Italian sausage (out of the casing) and cooked with sage, onion, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, 1 lb sliced mushrooms, celery and some diced green pepper. When the sausage mixture is cooled, I mix it together with the cooked rice, and soaked bread. I add salt, pepper, sage, marjoram, etc. to taste. I add some homemade stock and white wine. Stuffing shouldn't be too dry or too wet. Refrigerate until used. Whatever doesn't fit in the turkey I bake in a covered casserole dish for about 45 min. on Thanksgiving Day while we are enjoying our turkey and stuffing! Warning: it takes a strong arm to mix the stuffing once everything is in the bowl!
I freeze all the leftover cooked stuffing in sherbet bowls and we enjoy it later with turkey leftovers or grilled chicken.

3. Cranberries: When we celebrated Thanksgiving in Europe one year, our French friends thought we were nuts to choose a very sour berry and then load it with sugar. (Let alone the stuff that comes out of a can in a blob of gelatinous ooze!) What do you do with cranberries?
Not too much. We usually just use the whole cranberry sauce from a can. At this point, I have made so much, it's a relief to just open the can and serve the chilled sauce. I have used cranberry mustard though after Thanksgiving on turkey sandwiches it makes the
turkey zingy!

4. Potatoes: (Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew…) What’s your pleasure?
Mashed with butter, some 1/2 and 1/2, salt, pepper, a hint of nutmeg and a bit of sour cream. Goes good with gravy!

5. Pie: I’m married to the Pie Man. Anything but coconut pie floats his boat. What do you make? (or buy?) Pumpkin? Pecan? Apple?
I don't make pies. I make a Pumpkin Mousse Dessert. It's lighter and fluffier after a big dinner. Pumpkin pie is so dense and heavy. But the Pumpkin Mousse Dessert still has that pumpkin taste and flavor.

BONUS: A recipe that you’ve tried out and will make it to your table this year.
This is my make the night before dessert and just stick in the fridge.
Pumpkin Mousse Dessert
2 cups graham cracker, vanilla wafer or gingersnap crumbs - I use the graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup each: sugar & softened butter
Combine crumbs, sugar and butter, until thoroughly combined. Press into a 13 x 9 pan.

1 lb small marshmallows
1/3 cup milk
1 can pumpkin (1lb) but use only two-thirds of the can
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ginger & salt
1 tub Cool Whip (or 2 cups whipping cream, whipped)
Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt & spices in a large mixing bowl.
Melt marshmallow in milk in a double boiler (I use my dutch oven pot with a 2-3 quart pot resting in the dutch oven pot that
has water in it because of the large amount of marshmallows).
Blend in melted marshmallow mixture until thoroughly combined. (It's kind of a sticky thing). Cool well.
When cooled, fold in the Cool Whip, until fully incorporated together. Turn mixture onto crumb crust. Chill until firm.
Serve with a dollop of whipping cream on pieces, if desired.

So that's our Thanksgiving. And it will all begin next Tuesday with getting the fresh turkey, cooking the stock and rice. It will continue on Wednesday with making the stuffing, the Pumpkin Mousse Dessert, and the cheese ball. It further continues on Thanksgiving with stuffing and roasting the turkey, making mashed potatoes, slipping the frozen sweet potatoes into the microwave, setting the table with china, crystal (that has to be handwashed before and after dinner) and silverware (which I'll polish Thursday morning). It's a lot of work but everything is so wonderful and a blessing to be able to gather with family and enjoy it together.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


now that I have Advent planned out. Still working on Christmas Eve. I have even finished the newsletter article for December. Just need to write a prayer for the congregational meeting this coming Sunday.
I believe that this will be an insanely busy Advent what with Thanksgiving coming so late. I pray to be able to complete all in a timely manner and not rip all my hair out!!!
The next challenge is the annual Christmas letter reflecting a rather ordinary year. As if that isn't challenging enough, I have to write the same letter in German for several of my family in Switzerland. That one always takes a whole afternoon and the grammar hasn't gotten any better over the years! At least my relatives get the gist of what I mean!
Well, off to fill my gas tank for my commute into church tomorrow and council meeting. It's been snowing overnight and off and on this morning. Fortunately, there is only a slight accumulation and the roads seem clear.
It would be a blessing to have a slow Advent, time to savor and reflect more, but God has other plans this year!!! I shall work on keeping myself grounded in the midst of swirling activity and Christmas which will arrive only all too soon, but welcomed in spirit and heart all the same.

Monday, November 11, 2013


The weekend was a wonderfully fun unfolding. My SILs arrived just after lunch on Friday and we, LH and I, took them to the First Ladies Museum and saw some interesting china pieces from various administrations, some replicas of dresses worn by several first ladies and a couple of real ones. They even had a pair of Martha Washington's shoes! The second half of the display was on Ida McKinley and was in the Saxon House that had been restored with period pieces and reproduction wall paper ( Wm Morris and others). Really quite interesting. There is much to learn about the First Ladies because most of the focus is, of course, on the Presidents!
The tour took a bit longer than anticipated and we had to book to get home and change for dinner at the nicest restaurant in town. There was enough time for a champagne (OK it was prosecco) toast and some brie and crackers.
We enjoyed a marvelous dinner and the time flew by. We had to hurry once again to get home, in order to Skype with older BIL & SIL in Canada. Turned on my laptop just in time for the call to come in. A box arrived earlier that day from them and the SILs were able to open their gift in front of the senders! I had ordered a triple chocolate tort from a local grocery store and lit the candles and we all were able to serenade them with "Happy Birthday". After the Skype session, it was on to enjoy the cake with coffee! Then came the gift bags and all the little goodies - mismatched socks to stay a bit crazy, cute nighty to stay womanly, and all kinds of lotions, nail files, etc. as a bit of pampering, some Pirouline wafers, because let's face it, after we're 50 we still need some chocolate and tasty treats!!!
Saturday, we were up early and the pancake breakfast was served by 8:30 am. Manicures were scheduled for 9:30 am and we should have been done by 10:45 am the latest, but the salon overbooked and it also took longer. We rushed home and changed into dresses and hats and off we went to the county seat for a lovely ladies tea at a Tea Room. A friend of my SILs also came in for the tea. We had High Tea for lunch - appetizers, finger sandwiches of chicken salad and pimento cheese, and of course, the sweet treats of all kinds. The tea list was as extensive as wine lists at fine restaurants. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch and a stroll through the gift shop.
I took a different way home and spied a banner by the environmental center/park and sure enough it was the annual art fest. I had forgotten it was this weekend. So with a hard right turn that nearly sent my one SIL sliding across the back bench of the van (thank goodness for seat belts!!) we turned in and walked around the little art fest that featured woodworker, a couple painters, photographer or two, some over priced jewelry displays, a fashioner of gourds, and others.
We got home for a little time of putting up our feet!!
Then it was time for me to make dinner and there was some left over birthday cake. We relaxed the rest of the evening.
On Sunday, the SILs slept in and I eventually made eggs and bacon and toasted English muffins for breakfast. LH returned home from worship and we enjoyed smoked chicken salad that I made earlier that morning. And then the SILs had to leave for home and LH to the old folks home for worship.
I did take my Sunday afternoon nap.
I hadn't meant to wear everybody out!! But it sure was fun to spend some time with the SILs, get tutored on my smartphone, and to be able to do something special for them and pamper them a bit. They certainly deserved to have a very memorable 50th Birthday celebration!!! It is afterall, a once in a life-time birthday!!!
Now my focus will return to more spiritual things - Advent/Christmas and to the upcoming Thanksgiving. I'm just so glad everything went so well and that they seemed to enjoy it all. Blessings abound.

Thursday, November 07, 2013


a little bit crazy and rather hectic lately.
Had a wedding last weekend - rehearsal on Fri evening and wedding on Saturday, all of which entailed an hour commute each way.
Sunday I led worship, adult Sunday School, made a visit that turned into a trip to the ER, calling the woman's husband and friend and daughter. Going to the ER where the husband and friend were there by the time I arrived. I stayed for awhile and had another prayer with the parishioner. I got home around 4 pm.
I've been working on my mid-week Advent services liturgy which I just finished up on Wednesday, between meetings and a deathbed visit. She is still alive and I don't believe the funeral will be until Monday the earliest. Thanks be to God. I am on vacation at the moment.
On Tuesday I cleaned house and the guest bedroom.
Today I readied the guest bedroom and bath, went to the store, vacuumed the van, cleaned the windows (it's been way too long since the last cleaning!), and am de-cluttering.
I have been hard at work organizing a 50th birthday celebration for my sisters-in-law who will arrive here tomorrow. The entire weekend is booked with things I can not share until the weekend is over in case prying eyes will read this!!! The gifts are wrapped and the cake ordered to be picked up tomorrow morning.
I had hoped to have Monday free to do laundry and some Advent/Christmas planning and prep. I also am teaching the cooperative confirmation class on Holy Communion and have most of the lesson done. Still at work on the liturgy for devotions which is a service of communion. Since it is Advent I will have the manger holding a bread wrapped in white linen - God come to us, Christ born to give himself to us - the imagery is very meaningful. There will be newsprint with various colored markers for the kids to draw a symbol, image or word of what they experience in communion.
And I still have order the turkey for Thanksgiving and start making a shopping list of all items needed.
While I wait to hear word about the dying parishioner.
Like I said, it's been kind of crazy busy recently.
I am hoping for a fun girly weekend, but the reality of a pending funeral does hover over me. I will do my best to keep all lighthearted for the weekend.
I think things will just be this squirrely until the end of the year!

Friday, October 25, 2013


So this morning I donned a new pair of Lee casual khaki pants to do my grocery shopping and errands. This is the first time to wear them and they didn't need to be shortened or taken in at the waist. Jackpot! While I was (ahem) in the powder room I noticed that the lining in the front and for the pockets were scribbled with lines of affirmation: "You are valued", "You are creative", "You are inspiring", "You are confident", and "You are successful". Great. One would think you would find such affirmations in a pair of dress/career slacks. That would be helpful. But here these are casual affirmation pants. Perhaps, one needs to be reminded of these things even on a day off!
I confess I feel a little intimidated by them. I'm not so sure I can live up to those statements. We shall see!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I just finished reading, "I am Malala", on my kindle. I spent the weekend and a couple days to read it.
I found the writing similar to Three Cups of Tea, which was not the best written book. However, there were some lyrical descriptions and parts. It was a fascinating read of all Malala grew up with and in the Swat Valley. I admire her courage and she is an amazing and remarkable young woman who has not given up on encouraging, demanding education for all children, especially girls. Pakistan has had much political and socio-economic upheaval. I admire the love of her father and mother. It is a miracle that she is still alive and survived being shot. Thanks be to God. I pray that she will live into her calling and be a force for good in her country, in the world. I know she is exiled at the moment with a bounty on her head. She has kept faith and trust and has a world of support for her.
I am so glad to have read her book and to have been drawn into the struggle against the Taliban and the forces that continue to oppress people. I too, pray that peace will come again to Pakistan, the Swat Valley and in all corners of the world.
Although she did not win the Nobel Peace Prize, she has won the hearts of the world.

Thursday, October 03, 2013


Thinking about the Gospel lesson from Luke for this Sunday, having mustard seed-sized faith, I am drawn to the mustard seed faith around me. With mustard seed faith, the church I'm serving began a Sunday school for children (there are about 3 with potential for a couple more), and actually had 4 respond to taking turns teaching. And it's happening.
My niece, working on her doctoral project as a medical student in Ethiopia, sent an email, this past week, regarding an 8 year old girl, she walked for 4 hours to see and do an assessment. This little girl is unable walk. After another 4 hour trek back, presenting all her findings to the surgeon, he strongly believes that with surgery this little girl can walk. So, my niece, who is well aware of "unsustainable charity projects" has been moved to a mustard seed faith - by sending an appeal out via social media - for donations to help this little one get her needed surgery to be able to walk. Included in the cost was $50.00 to rent a mule (roundtrip) to bring the girl to Gimbi for surgery and home again. About half of the $650.00 needed has already been raised.
With mustard seed faith, this little girl's family, her mother wearing jelly shoes over rough terrain, along with the girl's entire family carried her in a chair to Gimbi - so part of the mule cost is no longer needed - where this little girl, whose whole life was spent sitting on her porch, is awaiting surgery. With hope and faith, this girl's family bore her all the way to town, taking turns carrying the chair.
With mustard seed faith, I have sent in my donation, and many prayers that all the money will be raised, that the surgery will be successful, and this little girl will have a new life.
I believe that mustard seed faith can transform lives one at a time, in small ways. That my niece has taken this on, being baptized, raised and confirmed Presbyterian, who has had little patience for church, but does have some spirituality, points to a mustard sized seed of faith in her after all. I can't wait to hear about the surgery and the unfolding of new life for this little girl.
Thanks be to God for just mustard seed-sized faith for it is enough and then some.

Friday, September 27, 2013


Sometimes as pastors, chaplains, professors or caregivers, our lives are so very full and our hearts ache with worries for others (or, if we are honest for ourselves!) So for this week’s Friday Five, let’s list things that are on your happy list! (We’ll assume that your family and friends and pets are included, so branch out a little, if you can!)

What are your joys? Places? Food? Activities? Books? Season? Hobbies? Smells? Colors? To inspire you, Mindy came up with THIRTEEN things that bring her joy or make her happy. So go for it!

Thinking of a few of my favorite things, here they are:
1: My greys, Jazz and Renoir. They are warm, fuzzy, a comfort and just make me feel good. They are always happy to greet me
when I return home and are content with a hugs and rubs and a few tasty treats. Knowing they have a comfortable, loving home
with a second chance at life is a wonderful thing.

2. LH and his sense of humor! He makes me feel good, too! He's my best friend, comfort and support.

3. My sister, who is also my best friend, comfort and support. A shame we don't see each other more than once a year although
we talk on the phone every week.

4. Swiss chocolate - simply melts in your mouth. It's the best stuff on earth!

5. The color sage green. Just my favorite.

6. The smell of turkey roasting in the oven. Just about 8 weeks away. It's a warm, wonderful smell.

7. Fresh tomatoes off the vine. Good eating!

8. The Ladies' No.1 Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith - interesting and enjoyable read, takes me away to Botswana.
Ann Lamott's books are also a fav of mine.

9. On TV that would be the Big Bang Theory. Just love it and I always have a good laugh!

10. Travelling to some place new. Haven't done much lately. Still on the list: Greece, Alaska, back to Switzerland and of course,
going to Wisconsin to the Lake House on Lake Michigan - always good and refreshes my soul.

11. Finding something great on sale that fits well! Always a great joy! I guess I could include finding shoes that fit and don't
hurt my feet (bunions) is always a wonderful thing.

12. Walking around an arts and crafts fair and seeing the creativity that abounds. I simply love pottery, paintings, fiber art, etc.
Just looking is inspiring and is eye candy.

13. Book stores - I simply can't describe the feeling when I walk inside except it's like a kid going into a candy store. I can
spend an hour or two in there without even realizing so much time has passed!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Yesterday was a just enough day. I was home and cleaning house. I had just enough Comet left in the container to clean the 2 upstairs bathrooms. I had just enough Armstrong Floor Cleaner left in the bottle to mop the bathroom floors. When it was time for lunch, I had just enough pico de gallo to throw in my spinach salad and just enough lite Ranch dressing left in the bottle to finish it off on my salad. There were just enough saltine crackers left in the sleeve to polish off.
Which spurred me to realize that perhaps God was pointing out to me that just enough will do, that just enough is enough. Hard to ignore when most everything one is using that day are the last remnants and they are enough to get the job done. Over and over the message was came through.
I am to be content, I am to be grateful, for just enough. Just enough will see me through. Just enough is enough. Thanks, God, for that reminder.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Presently, I'm in the midst of a most fascinating book, Quiet by Susan Cain. "The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking".
Cain researches well and elaborates upon many different studies, especially in the field of neuroscience, the work in recognizing the qualities, challenges, that are part of an introvert's make-up and how it plays out in the world in business, politics, education, etc. It is a very readable book that is both affirming and examines how the power and wisdom of introverts are overlooked in an extroverted society and milieu. It is helping me to feel more comfortable in my own skin.
She includes some observations and examples from the lives of real people - from the famous to the ordinary. And Cain does note that balance is needed in any organization of a mixture of the two. However, the introverts often get drowned out by the extroverts!
Cain also advocates for finding one's rhythm and honoring the need for solitude and quiet for all.
There's a lot of information to chew on, which makes it both interesting and stimulating - like a continuing education course!
Who knew there have been so many studies and so many different studies, some of which are still being unraveled and discerned.
I would recommend this book to introverts and extroverts alike!!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Just an ordinary enough Tuesday cleaning house. It was near lunch time and I happened to be in the kitchen, having just emptied a bucket of water from mopping the upstairs bathroom floors, when the phone rings. Not that unusual. However, it was LH calling, which he never really does unless something is amiss.
Turns out he was at the Old Folks Home and pulling out of the parking space back first to go get lunch when boom and a shattering of glass! His rear window was shattered by a hunk of metal - like part of a hook - from perhaps a semi-truck. Now the old folks home is on a main street, but it isn't a hugely busy thoroughfare. He never saw a truck. I think St. Luke (namesake of the Lutheran old folks home) was watching out for him. Had he parked where he would pull out front first - well - I really wouldn't want to think of how injured he could've been. He did get a hold of our insurance agent and was able to stop at the Safelite glass place. They cleaned out all the glass and determined the metal piece didn't come from a plane which would have literally gone through the whole car - window, seat, to the ground. His car will have the rear window replace on Thursday morning - putting him a bit late into the church office, but he will be there and that's the point.
What a randomly freaky thing to have happen. I've had two windshields replaced while highway travelling with stones cracking the windshield but nothing like LH experienced.
I finished cleaning house, made dinner for my beloved LH and with his car in the garage - rear window taped in plastic - he took my van to his council meeting tonight. I am ever so grateful that the rest of the day ended more ordinary and I am ever so grateful that LH wasn't hurt at all. Just really freaky thing, for a Tuesday, or any day.

Saturday, September 07, 2013


My first ever Friday Five is dedicated to Nikki, sister RevGal, who was hungering for an opportunity to write about Haggis. With that introduction, today’s FF is all about food!

1) Is there a food from a foreign land whose reputation led to trepidation when you had a chance to give it a try? Did you find the courage to sample it anyway? If so, were you pleasantly surprised or did you endorse the less than favorable reputation that preceded it?
That would be Haggis. Knowing what it's made of caused me to be wary. LH ordered it in Oban, Scotland and I tried it and really
liked it. As long as I didn't think about it too much, it was quite delicious and something I would eat again!
In England, it was mushy peas! Why ever would one take a good pea and cook it to mush? I really didn't care for mushy peas at all.
Up in the Yukon, it was caribou and reindeer and muskox - all very good, especially the reindeer sausage!!!

2) What food from your own country/culture gets a bad rap?
Blutwuerst or blood sausage. Yuck! Kalbskopf or calf's head - where the head is cooked and you eat the gelantinous stuff. Never
will I try it. Senne Mutschli cheese - rather fragrant semi soft cheese but oh so good.

3) Of what food are you fond that others find distasteful?
Perhaps, that would be spinach. Many folks don't care for it. I love it cooked or raw in salads. I make spinach omlets that
are a dinner and oh, so tasty.

4) Is there a country’s food, not native to you, that you go out of your way to eat?
Greek! Dolmades, Gyros, Lamb, Spinakopita, Baklava, Greek salad, what's there not to love? I also enjoy French, German,
and Swiss foods.

5) What is your guilty pleasure food?
Swiss milk chocolate that simply melts in your mouth! The best stuff on earth!

Bonus: What was your most memorable meal (good or bad), either because of the menu, the occasion, the company, or some other circumstance that makes it stand out?
There have been so very many. One was in Sion, Switzerland with LH and his Dad after a day on the small Matterhorn in Zermatt.
We were on our way back to our chalet and stopped for dinner. Since it was October, it was game season. Being in the French-
speaking part of Switzerland it was a bit challenging not speaking French. We stopped at this little restaurant because it had
a game menu. The menu was all in French. We asked the waiter if he knew German. "Not really," he responded. How about English?
"Even less than my german!" he replied. We inquired about a certain game item - and he tried to explain! Then he mimicked a
snort, crooked his two index fingers on either side of his mouth and I guessed it - wild boar!!! It had been marinated for
a week and was simply delicious. After a picture perfect day with the Matterhorn we had an absolutely fantastic gourmet meal
for dinner.
In South Africa while in Capetown, we ate dinner at Café Africa - a multi course dinner with items from various parts of
Africa and good wine. The kudu was wonderful and each course was so delicious. We waddled out of there, thankful for the
20 minute walk back to the hotel. Another night, we ate at Panama Jack's, a little shack (known by locals) on the docks.
We enjoyed King Clip and great wine, that was simply divine. We took a taxi from the hotel to get there, since it's hard
to find. The taxi driver wanted to know how we heard of it being Americans!!! I told them, our friends in Jo'burg!!!
Up in the Yukon, we ate some memorable dinners of native food - see above - and a scrumptious muskox, caribou and reindeer
stew also with great wine. Being with LH, in some of the most wonderful places, with great food made for the best meals.
I would also say, that being with family, whether at Thanksgiving (when I cook) or at the Lake House in Wisconsin with
my sister, BIL and family with something grilled and salads and items we all cook together, along with great wine, good
company and being right on the shores of Lake Michigan - make for some of the best dining experiences ever. Company, great
food, good wine, and a nice view - always makes for the most memorable meals.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013


For a short week, it's been busy! Spent Labor Day morning mostly in the kitchen preparing a Mediterranean Eggplant, Zucchini, Quinoa Salad with Kalmata olives, and cherry tomatoes. It involved roasting the eggplant and zucchini - fortunately only one small tray got too roasted! It was really delicious. My SILS drove in for the afternoon and we enjoyed their company, skyped with their older brother and wife in Canada, and ate well - the salad, grilled Italian Sausage, green salad and cheesecake from Trader Joe's with a selection of various kinds with and without chocolate.
I went into the church office Tuesday instead of Monday and again today. Tomorrow I work on my sermon and do a bit of grocery shopping and perhaps, get my hair cut. I have a bunch of laundry to tackle as well.
Saturday I will be making an Asian Cole Slaw for the church picnic on Sunday and baking Snickerdoodles for the mission project of packing items for deployed military personnel.
The guest bathroom and powder room got a quick once over and the downstairs got vacuumed and dusted. Real housecleaning won't happen til next Tuesday - nearly a week later than usual. I have a birthday gift to wrap and pack, and surprise birthday planning to complete - the wrapping will take some time.
So, a packed short week.
The Boys are learning a new routine this week - being left alone on Tues. & Wed. for far longer than normal. So far they've handled it just great! Hoping I'm not jinxing it today by mentioning it!!!!!!!!!!!!1
I need to be updating my dossier. I don't think I'll be here for a whole lot longer. I pray that God will open up a fresh opportunity for me to serve. Such is the downside to interim ministry. It would be a grace to be a bit more stable for awhile.
But I am grateful to be serving.
Here's to short, busy weeks! They go by really fast!!!

Friday, August 30, 2013


And for today, here's a Friday Five looking at the other end of things: Firsts. With so many folks starting school, college, seminary, etc. I've been thinking of a lot of other firsts in my life. Share with us, if you will:

Your first "place" - whether it was an apartment, dorm room, or home with a new spouse, the first place where you really felt like a grown-up:
My first apartment in OH. I was responsible for paying rent, utilities, keeping it clean, etc. I had a balcony facing west and even
had a smokey joe Weber grill and grilled in the summer. Although, I lived in an apartment in Seminary, shared with two roommates,
and lived in a dorm room the last two years of college, also with a roommate, being on my own was definitely the time I felt all
grown up.

Your first time away from home. Construe this any way you want. College? Girl Scout Camp? Study Abroad?
Let' see: there were Girl Scout overnighters and sleep over with school mates. No big deal. College was easily the first time
away from home and being really homesick. Here was a suburban Chicago gal transported to rural central IL. Wow, what an eye-
opener!! And I thought they were a bit behind! Nothing compared to OH where they are two-three years behind the rest of the
nation. I've adapted over the years and it doesn't bother me as much anymore.
Then there was the summer I lived with my Grandma in Switzerland while doing a assistant pastor internship while in Seminary.
Since I was with Grandma and all my relatives and I'd been there so often before, it felt more like a second home. I really
wasn't homesick and the summer flew by.
There was the college trip to the Philippines, Greece and Switzerland, where I basically flew nearly around the world all on
my own. I survived, got around okay and had a culturally enlightening trip.

Your first job in your field of endeavor (so, not babysitting, unless you are A Professional Babysitter today):
My first position was that of a prison chaplain in an all male prison where I had my first apartment. It was a great
experience. I learned to deal with many personalities and personality disorders. I was part of a solid chaplaincy staff. I
really enjoyed and grew in my ministry.

Your first time hosting. Again, construed broadly, this could be a dinner for the in-laws, your first time to have guests for a holiday meal, etc.
When I was in High School did host a party for the kids at work, while my parents were away. I'd have gotten away with it,
except one dorky kid broke a chair. Couldn't hide that. I made Italian beef sandwiches and everyone brought munchies.
The first family hosting was a Thanksgiving dinner two years after LH and I were married. We hosted his family and I really
cooked and was a nervous wreck. Over the years, I've gotten more laid back and don't stress as much - this is 23 years later.
I still cook Thanksgiving dinner, making stock from scratch, the stuffing is homemade, as are the mashed potatoes and dessert.
I really like the way the house smells with the turkey roasting and the warmth from all the cooking and setting the dining
room table with china and crystal. Just miss my father-in-law being there.

Your first love.That can be a person or something else!!
My first love was reading! I loved to read and still do. My Mom would make me stop reading to go out and play and to do
chores. I always used to read before going sleep.
My next love, at about the same time, was swimming. I was the youngest at the time to get my Swimmer's badge. In fact when
I took the test, the instructor put in the lane next to side of the pool, in case I had any trouble! (Snort of derision) I
came in fourth and had no trouble. They wanted me to join the swim team, but I declined. I loved swimming too much to make
it work or a chore. I just wanted to delight in swimming, for fun.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


I am not responsible for others' irresponsibility.
Truly. I am not.
Stopped at the gas station to fill my tank. While filling, a 19ish year old, approached me, apologized for disturbing me and mumbled something about his friend needing to get to work and could I spare a buck or two.
Now, how will one or two dollars help the young man get to work? That won't even buy a gallon of gas. When I first pulled into the station, this young man was sitting outside the front doors and smoking a cigarette. So, what was this money going to be used for?
A hot dog, gas, cigarettes, beer, drugs, etc? Their car was parked at one pump down and across from mine. If he had money for a polar pop or cigarettes, then, this young man was not using his money wisely or well.
I declined to give him any money. And then, he shouted, "Oh, F-bomb!" strode off the car and they pulled away.
I didn't deserve to have profanity yelled in my face.
And I reiterate: I am not responsible for others' irresponsibility.
I am thankful it was just the f-bomb and nothing more serious. Really, one should be able to gas up one's tank without feeling threatened. Those young men need prayer and new life.

Friday, August 23, 2013


So let's talk "packing or pack rat?" for this week's Friday Five.

1. Are you a sorter or a pack rat? What I mean by that is, do you select what you are taking with you (on a trip, a new assignment, a vacation), or do you pack with abandon (overweight suitcases be damned!)
I usually start making piles of things to take with and pack. Generally, there's too much and then I begin to eliminate.

2. Who first helped you learn how to pack? Or did you just come into it by osmosis or natural gifting (and need)?
My mom first taught me how to pack. Whenever we flew to Switzerland, she knew just how and what to pack. When we went camping
every summer, we packed up our clothes in huge, thick plastic drawstring bags from the hospital that my aunt worked at. My Mom
was a great packer and organizer.

3. What's your favorite kind of suitcase? Duffle? Soft-side? Wheels? (I am personally a fan of my "expanding zipper" wheelie suitcases. Saved my bacon on many a return trip home!)
I have soft-siders that expand on wheels. What a great invention - the wheels!!!! I don't know how I travelled to Switzerland,
Greece and the Philippines without wheels, dragging two suitcases, a carry-on and a purse. I was young and strong at the time!

4. Do you have that "packing gene" -- or do you pack and cram what you need into every available space?
I don't know about the packing gene, since I had to learn it. I always take too much with. My suitcases tend to be more on
the full side, although I allow extra room to bring back souvenirs, chocolate and cheese(from Switzerland). I have brought
home - glass pieces, bottles of liquor, stoneware and (knock on wood) nary an item has broken. I slip them and wrap them
around clothes make sure they won't shift too much and are well cushioned. Sometimes, I am able to get bubblewrap and
newspapers for extra padding.
LH always travels with a 1/2 empty suitcase. I've had to put some of the things in his suitcase because he packs so light but
is so very fussy about his neatly placed items.

5. What's one thing you've learned in traveling, packing or storing your belongings that you think everyone should know?
See above about packing bottles of liquor or glass pieces. Also, rolling some shirts makes the most sense and saves space.
I never roll bulky sweaters - takes up too much room. I lay them flat. Also, I stuff things inside my extra pairs of shoes
which also provides protection (like jars of jam) and makes for great extra space.


...I play, Where's Grasshopper? We've had a couple really humungous grasshoppers living in the flowerbeds. One apparently really enjoys munching on the Siberian Iris leaves and lives amongst them. The other lives on the other side of the same porch side, and a smaller one was in the inkberry bush although much smaller and browner.
Every time I go out on the porch, I play, Where's Grasshopper? They can camouflage rather well but I've been perceptive enough to usually find them. Yesterday morning, the big green/brown grasshopper was masquerading as an Iris pod by clinging upside down right alongside two Iris seed pods. It looked just like a seed pod unless you really looked closely. I've seen her munch with her big, wide mouth the Iris leaves. She has hopped on the inukshuk I made in the flowerbed to warm herself on the sun baked stone.
The smaller brown grasshopper had one leg caught in the spider web on the front of the house on the vinyl siding. He did manage to extricate himself and won a second chance at life instead of being sucked dry by a spider.
The bees and the butterflies are always stopping by gathering pollen or nectar. And the garden spider by the inukshuk gathered a Japanese beetle in her web and was busy wrapping it so it couldn't escape.
The house spider in the corner by the dining room window has caught; an unfortunate lightening bug, a moth, a mayfly, another bug, a Japanese beetle I stomped on and promptly put in her web ( with a leaf), and a very green grasshopper that when she was done with it was as flat as any leaf.
Wednesday night late, before going to bed, LH and I stepped out on the porch. All was dark and quiet. Everyone had lights out and gone to bed. The street lights shone their peachy hue onto the street and there we saw the calico cat that wanders the neighborhood and has had the audacity to stroll through our backyard despite the fence and two greyhounds who would love to chase it if given the opportunity. She was stalking something and chased back and forth across the street from curb to curb, and up and down. It looked like a mouse. It was rather amusing to watch. She eventually did catch it and took it onto the lawn across the street, probably for a bit more play.
Late at night, when all the neighbors were fast asleep, we watched the drama played out in the street.
We never know all the life that is around us, unless we spend time watching and looking. There is a whole world out there that we often simply rush by, overlook, don't see, because we don't take the time. I'm grateful to have the time to see all the life that is part and parcel of our little corner of the world. There is always more around us than we ever see. And it is all part of the wonder of God's creation.
I look forward to playing, Where's Grasshopper?, for a few more weeks!

Monday, August 19, 2013


It was at the church council meeting last Wednesday evening - when as we were settling down to begin that one member checked her phone and got the message that this synod's bishop was just elected presiding bishop of the whole denomination!!! Surprise!
What a blessing to the larger denomination of this gifted, talented and insightful clergywoman and what a loss to this Synod.
Though I am not of this denomination, I have had great admiration of this bishop and her leadership, work and ministry in and throughout the Synod. She has weathered some rather tumultuous times within the Synod, and has sailed through them a bit bruised but not too battered. I know that she will be a gift to the larger church and do so ably and competently. I really hate to see her go! But understand that God is at work in her life and calling her to serve the church, share her gifts, and do so on much larger scale.
I knew this before LH did and brought the news home to him which he quickly confirmed on-line!!! That was priceless!! To know something of such great import in his denomination before he knew it!!!
It makes me begin to wonder my denominational regional leader. I admire her greatly, as well. She is much softer and gentler than the bishop, but just as powerful, able and competent. I hope she is not too anxious to leave us. The whole Presbytery has benefitted much from her leadership, ministry, insight and wisdom as well. I pray she stays for awhile longer.
Perhaps, I admire these clergywomen because they are comfortable in their own skin, confident and possess a deep faith.
I am feeling particularly blessed today, to have served with these clergywomen, to appreciate what a gift and grace they are,
and the example they show forth. Blessings be upon them and abound in their lives even as they continually answer the call to serve where God leads them for the good of God's people. I am thankful for them and give thanks to God for them.

Monday, August 12, 2013


In this Ordinary Time, things have been...well...ordinary. Around these parts, August has been cooler than normal. There is the sweet corn bumper crop with all the rain we had this spring/summer. Indeed, even our lawns and the meadow are still pretty green. Highly unusual for this time of year. I haven't even had to water the garden much at all. The tomatoes are ripening and I have a bowlful on the kitchen counter. Not quite enough to cook up into sauce, but too many to eat between two people. Since they are still getting a bit more ripe, I have some time to think about it.
LH and I have enjoyed the many visits from Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and Black Swallowtail butterflies, as well as a couple Viceroys and Hummingbird moths to the butterfly bush. The Dr. Seuss flowers are all spent and the hummingbirds have to go back to using the nectar feeder.
I have been busy with the ordinary - cleaning house, getting an oil change, and doing laundry. The ordinary and mundane tasks that need to be done. With my more regular cleaning - as opposed to LH's whenever he gets around it - it has become much easier and quicker, even the shower stays cleaner longer!!! That's all it takes - regular cleaning and tending. The dust, however, still settles in and on more quickly than it ought - at least in my opinion!
I still have closets to go through and pack up clothing that has grown too big. I have a hard time parting with some items, even though they no longer fit. I just need to bite the bullet and let these items have a next life with someone else.
I am missing my niece who is over in Africa working on her doctoral project. We have had some great conversations on the phone while she was still in Med School in IL. Now she's gone for 6 months, living rather austerely in some very humble lodgings. Fortunately, she has warm water with an outside shower, a now working toilet and she purchased a two burner stove to heat soup and eggs. She's hoping to partake of the bananas outside of her residence, but fears the monkeys might beat her to them when they ripen! I don't believe my niece has much ordinary in her days so far.
Ordinary is ok. It is comfortable. It just lacks a bit of pizazz. I have enough to keep busy with the church, even though part-time and as ever, more than enough to keep me busy at home. It is good. It is grace-filled. I can savor the quiet and the busy and the mundane. It is all grace just to receive a day and give thanks and be thankful for it.
Hail, Ordinary Time - thou art still a teacher of me.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Recognizing that RevGalBlogPals are from around the world, your weather may be different. But play along and tell us how YOU beat the heat when it's in season with this week's Friday Five.

Tell us your favorite:

1. Cool treat
That would be a fresh peach or cold watermelon. Chocolate ice cream or frozen custard.
2. Cool drink
Nothing beats a glass of ice cold water!
3. Cooling-off place
Our home with air-conditioning. LH likes it cool and sometimes I even have to put a sweater on!
4. Cool clothes
Linen is the coolest as is pure cotton whether a dress, skirt and shirt, or capri's with a shirt. I have
a few linen pieces and some cotton skirts and dresses that I wear on very hot days. Keeps me cool and comfortable.
Too bad so much of what the manufacturers make these days is polyester.
5. Best alternative to air-conditioning
Nothing really beats air-conditioning unless you are fortunate enough to have a pool. I could be in a pool all day
long on a really hot day and have done so in Florida at my parent's home when they were still alive. Now that was
refreshing and totally wonderful!

Share a photo of your favorite hot weather "chill out" spot

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


The neighbor teen(young teen)finally got around to mowing the lawn yesterday. It was getting shaggy, the lawn not the teenager!
The father was with him as the teen started the mower and off he went. The father then went inside to work.
Now this is not the first time this teen has mowed. It must be about the third or even fourth time. And some of the same issues are apparent from the first mowing to this last one.
He has improved somewhat in mowing straighter. That being said, he doesn't always overlap his rows which means you get some skinny strips that he's missed and the grass stands taller than what has been mown.
He also hasn't discovered that when mowing next to the driveway, sidewalk or corners, one has have the mower wheels on the
said driveway, walk, etc. so that the grass hugging the driveway, sidewalks, etc. also get mown. Otherwise, you have grass next to the driveway, sidewalks and in corners that stand tall next all the rest (more or less)that was mown.
Obviously, there is room for improvement. Obviously, mowing the lawn is not merely a simple matter of mindlessly walking back and forth behind a mower. There is a little more to it and lessons to be learned.
1. You should mow a different pattern with each cutting, good for grass and growth.
2. Never cut the grass too short - you can fry your lawn in the summer by doing that. (The teen was fortunate in that it rained
before the lawn was fried and wrecked.)
3. Look back before you start a new row and see if you mowed it straight or not. That way you can straighten it out.
4 See above about grass along driveways, sidewalks and in corners - the mower might need to be a third to half on the
driveway to cut that grass and give it a nice crew cut look that matches the whole rest of the lawn.
5. Take pride in what you're doing, no matter how small, simple, menial, chore-like it is, make it look good, do the
best you can.
6. If you missed a spot or ignored the grass along the driveway, sidewalks, corners, go back and do it and finish it well.
The father never came back out to check the work nor offer any advice, which most teens don't really welcome but still need to hear, and take in.
Had it been me, I would've had the teen back out there cleaning up his attempt to mow. It would have been an unacceptable job, and my teen would know it.
It seems to me that we have so lowered our expectations of most everything - especially service jobs - that we settle for things that are less than acceptable. And to what end? To make others feel a sense of accomplishment when they could have done so much better and had a truer sense of accomplishment and a job well done? How else do we learn if we are not held to a higher standard, or motivated and encouraged to do better than a half-baked job or turn in a crummy report that we know was not as good as we could do.
This father has missed a most wonderful teachable moment in his son's life - to strive to do well and the best job that you
can. If it's not up to par, go back and fix and finesse it so it is up to par. Take pride in what you do, big or small, spectacular or mundane. Offer up something better than just mediocre. Hold yourself to a higher standard.
Maybe that's one of our problems today - settling for something less, even when knowing it could be so much better.
There's been that idea of "just showing up", which does indeed mean something. But when you "show up", give it your best
and your all. Don't just put in your time, punch the time clock, go through the motions. Make it all count for something, take
pride in helping, doing, serving, mowing, cleaning, repairing, etc. Yes, you get credit for simply showing up, but there's
so much more awaiting you if you give your best in every effort and do something.
I miss things at times, or forget to cover every detail, but I try to the best I can and take pride in what I do. I want others to be more than satisfied with my offerings and not feel that they are settling for less than acceptable.
I pray, that this teen may still learn the lesson and get the message, but, I fear the opportunity has been missed and the family will merely accept the less than acceptable and live with a funny looking lawn. It's not the most important thing in the world, but it is a teachable moment. When we do the best we can in the small, simple, most mundane of tasks, we will offer the very best when it comes to the larger things in life, mowing the lawn included.

Monday, July 22, 2013


When I happened to go through a stack of books in my study/storage room, I came upon a book I'd forgotten about. So, I promptly pulled it out of the pile and set about to reading it. The book, Two Women of Galilee, by Mary Rourke was a fictional account of Joanna, wife of Chuza, chief steward in Herod Antipas' court. It mainly centered on Joanna and a bit less on Mary, the Mother of Jesus. It was an interesting read - a bit sparse in really fleshing out relationships. But interesting nevertheless.
I suppose I should go through that stack a bit more often, it seems that there may be another one or two books just waiting to be discovered. In the meanwhile, I will focus on Wonderstruck and get back to it.
When we made a trip to TJ's on Friday, we found a new thing - Chicken Gorgonzola. A frozen chicken dish, well seasoned with pesto and gorgonzola cheese. It was very tasty, and meaty, we didn't even finish it all. I had leftover for my spinach salad the next day for lunch. Pretty good, to get a dinner and lunch out of it. Try it sometime. I didn't even have to add any ground black pepper to it as I do with most prepared foods. That's how well-seasoned it was.
Two things found, one old and one new, in a week.
I find it a grace to discover or find something that adds something to my life - a new read, a new taste, perhaps, even a new exercise. It keeps me growing. If it's something good, it gets added to try again another time. If it turns out, not so good, well, one learns and it doesn't need to be repeated.
LH keeps saying, "You don't know what's in the pickle barrel, until you take the lid off!!" So, I keep an open mind, try to welcome new discoveries and continue to crack the lid on that pickle barrel!!
May the adventure of discovery, finding something old, something entirely new add spice and meaning to your life this summer, help you to grow, add to your wisdom, knowledge, spirit, but not your girth!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Speaking of things to recommend - Lea & Perrins Steak Sauce beats A-1 hands down!!!
It's too bad all the restaurants insist on using A-1 which I never liked instead of Lea & Perrins. I think once you've had L & P you won't go back to A-1. It's a better flavor that compliments a steak and doesn't cover it up.
By the way, TJ's Latkes are very good as is their Creamy Polenta with Spinach and Carrots which goes excellently with grilled Italian Sausage. Just something to consider in these summer months.
I'm also recommending that people stop being so lazy and actually use the turn signals on their cars. Is it too much to ask that you use basic rules of road when driving and have some courtesy to other drivers? I mean, I can't read minds and know that you want to change lanes or make a turn left or right when you are ahead of me. Do you people even know where the directional control is on your vehicle and that it is standard equipment? With all the traveling I'm doing, it is more and more apparent that drivers are either 1. lazy, 2. ignorant, 3. too absorbed in their own little world while in their vehicle, 4. on their phone. Pay attention people! You will cause an accident one of these days, and I hope it won't involve me! Out of 4 cars heading to the entrance ramp of the Interstate this morning, I was the only one whose right turn signal was on as I got into the turn lane for the entrance ramp. It is a sorry state of affairs when drivers are just to lazy or too oblivious to other drivers not to use their turn signals.
So there you have it, some recommendations as the week progresses. Not extremely spiritual, just some observations.

Monday, July 15, 2013


I am in the midst of Steve Wolf's, Comet's Tale on my Kindle. I's a story about a rescued greyhound who in turn rescues Wolf who is debilitated with degenerative disk disease. I see a lot of my different greys in Comet. The book makes me miss Earl - our first grey, my soul mate and who was a Pet Pal volunteer at the big teaching hospital in the city on the North Shore.
I am enjoying this read.
The other is a little treasure, Marjorie Thompson's,The Gift of Encouragement; Restoring Heart to Those Who Have Lost It.
May what a wonderfully insightful book this is and with great prayers and practices. I encourage all pastors to read and have a copy of this little book full of such grace, and to be able to offer that grace and healing and encouragement to those who minister with in our churches or even as spiritual directors. It's worth every penny!!
I have also started Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg - just started it, like I'm about 5 pages into it.
I really don't like reading more than two books at a time - one for professional development and another to feed my soul. So, I think the last book will have to wait until I completely finish Marjorie Thompson's.
In the meanwhile, I am just waiting for November 5th, when the new installment of The Ladies' No. 1 Detective Agency book comes out - The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon!! It's been two years since the last book came out and I have been hankering for another one. Just 16 weeks away! But a long wait since I am so eager to delve into the latest adventure and mystery solving of Precious Ramotswe and sink myself back into Botswana.
Hope you are enjoying your summer reads as well. What are your eyes alighting upon?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


gives me the chance to catch up on phoning some folks to check in on them, to prepare for Council this evening and to get in some reading.
It has felt like living in Florida these past two weeks with rain nearly every day. Yesterday evening the rain gauge registered 3 1/2 inches that fell after supper and before the late night news. During the night, between 3 & 4 am, it stormed again. Jazz came up and laid on the floor next to my side of the bed instead of in the dog bed at the foot of the bed. He hates thunderstorms. Renoir slept in his bed downstairs not at all perturbed.
After a very hectic June, it's nice to have a bit of breathing space. And ponder, stewardship for the fall and how to start a small Sunday School with old material.
And in the meanwhile, it's pouring and the steam is rising up from the paved parking lot and my van has been washed, clean, of dust, dirt and bug remains on the windshield. I am amazed at how lush it is here when usually at this point in the summer, everything starts looking rather peaked and dry. Even our lawn, full of native plants ( clover, crabgrass, and assorted others)is still green. I haven't had to water the garden or flower beds for the past 2 weeks which has been nice.
Last night a toad came to visit and rest on the front sidewalk leading up to the house and got baptized and seemed to enjoy the summer evening's rain and a bath. It's always good to see the toads knowing that they eat various and sundry critters around the garden and yard. I even noticed a couple of ladybugs this year in the herb garden, also welcome since they eat aphids. I wasn't too happy to see the slugs, but I suppose they, too, need a place to live. I may need to put down some more crushed egg shells which add calcium for the tomatoes and which the slugs detest.
The call committee at the church will be interviewing a couple of candidates and so it makes it hard for me to know how far into the fall I should plan. I suppose I'll be needing to update my dossier before too long and to see what God has in mind for me next. I weathered this one fairly well and they have settled into this interim time.
I keep hoping for somewhere to serve that would be a bit more permanent but then I am reminded that reminded that our good Lord had no place to rest his head and the disciples were always on the road as well. It seems that's how I am to spend my remaining years, forever wandering from place to place. Still it would be nice to have a few more hours, a pension, some medical insurance. It is as it is and I am grateful for each opportunity to serve, to stretch and grow, to be challenged and to keep on the move. I am, after all, in good company!!
For now, I will be content with the summer rain, the deep-throated rumbling of thunder, and the day that is yet before me.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013


I don't rightly remember just how I stumbled onto RGBPs back in the summer of 2006. But somehow by the grace of God I did. I lurked for quite some time and through the lurking got to "know" the regulars and instigators - St. Casserole, Songbird, Cheesehead - whom I miss, Lutheran Chick, Yearning for God, Spooky Rach, Quotidian Grace, and others. When I wanted to comment, I realized I also needed an identity and to be a part of some very amazing clergy women. So, I found my voice and identity as I pastored a small, rural congregation whom I since left.
Being a non-techie required some extra help in getting my blog set-up and I confess, after all this time, I still haven't got the hang of how to do everything. I still have problems posting pictures - maybe because my computer doesn't recognize my camera card and I still can't put pictures on my computer. I could use a tutorial and help from a 12 year old!!!
But these Gals have been an inspiration and encouragement in my own spiritual and faith journey. The prayers have been wonderful and upbuilding. Ideas are shared. Ask the Matriarch, helpful. Although, I have not contributed much, I have been enriched by these great women struggling, serving, loving, challenging, and triumphant souls.
I count myself blessed to be but a very small part of such a wise and faithful ring of sisters. Thank you all! What a gift and grace you have been, are and continue to be though there be miles between us, though we have never met in person, though our positions differ, though we are diverse in denomination, politics, and even understandings, there is a respect and mutual honoring one of another. Thank you. Thanks be to God for you.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013


Thanks for all of your prayers for my BIL who is still in the hospital and will be until Thursday. The procedure was mostly successful, but he will need to be on medication. We're just very grateful that all went well and he is recovering nicely. We love him dearly and want him around for a long time to come!!!
To think that 38 years ago he began dating my sister and shyly coming to our house - a young man, far from his home country of Switzerland and with a heavy accent who spoke more Swiss than English, and came to be a son-in-law who was more like an adopted son. Our family loved him and he loved our family. He knew exactly how to handle my Mom and he greatly admired my Dad. He even asked my Dad for permission to marry my sister. He has quirky sense of humor and works so hard and long hours managing his own business of freight forwarding. After they married, weekends were often spent at our home or their home with barbeques or grilled meats in the summer and dinners in the winter. My folks doted on their granddaughter and watched her often. Then came their grandson whom they lavished just as much attention and care.
Although, we often teased each other - and I am stilled owed one - for pushing him into the pool at my parent's house in Florida when he was fully dressed - just because he was just in the right place for it and never saw it coming!!! - he is family. He came down to Florida to help with cleaning out my Dad's condo after he passed away and drove the truck all the way to the North Shore of Ohio and then on to the Windy City. He is outgoing and private. A loving husband and a good father.
With my parent's both gone, he's still (aside from my sister) a strong connection and tie to my folks being a part of our family for so many years. He's the one who helped us navigate our way around Basel, knowing it very well and has been a source of strength to me since my parents' passing. I can't imagine he not being a part of our lives. I was just 17 when he married my sister and he has lived through all my dramas and traumas!!! He's the brother I never had growing up!!!
So, thanks to God and thanks for all the prayers as he continues to heal and get well.

Monday, July 01, 2013


My BIL is having a heart procedure done today and all prayers that all will go well are most certainly welcomed.
I had hoped to send a little edible fruit arrangement to the Lake House on Wednesday, but apparently the only fruit they can
deliver there is chocolate covered and not the cute little arrangement of fresh non-coated fruit. I. am. bummed. I suppose if they were home (Windy City) it would not have been a problem.
Guess it will just have to be a get well card. Sigh. I really wanted to do this for them. Meanwhile, I keep praying for him and the heart doctors who will be doing the procedure.
Thanks to you all.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

isn't that the way vacations are, too short! We really could have used an extra day or two. 6 days is way too short!
Part of it was, my sister and BIL were out of town when we arrived in the Windy City. I did get to see my niece though later that night. And I was fortunate enough to find lined wool slacks - black & grey - at the Talbots Outlet at a very good price!!!
Then it was up to WI the next morning with a stop at the Outlet Stores just over the IL border. Found a few items at Eddie Bauer and Coldwater Creek. Then onward to our favorite lunch stop - a Greek place just up the interstate - with the absolute best gyros ever, full of tasty lamb/beef.
Onward past Milwaukee and a stop at the grocery store to pick up needed items and then the few miles to the Lake House, where we were wowed by the expansion and remodeled kitchen and new guest bathroom that looks like a contemporary museum. The entry way is all new with wonderful tile floor that has a wood-looking tile running on diagonal two ways with lighter sand colored tile in between. Looks like wood planks intersecting the lighter tile.
It was chilly at the Lake and I saved my walk on the beach for the next day and it was lovely. We did manage to go to the small town with the artsy stuff. We actually bought a switchplate cover and socket cover for our 1/2 bath which I had admired for the past several years. It matches perfectly to out sage bathroom with oak cabinetry. Should have bought them 5 years ago!!!
Enjoyed a wonderful Fish Fry at a local place with my sister and BIL and niece who came up on Friday. The birthday flamingo was decorated not with a birthday hat, but with a mini foam cheese triangle I found at the cheese store!!! It was too funny!!!
My nephew and his wife arrived the next day in time for lunch and my niece's significant other arrived in time for dinner. We were a very full house, but in a good and satisfying way.
The Famer's Market had not yet much to offer, mostly onions, radishes, etc. I did find a Larkspur that I have to plant this weekend.
Dinner was grilled Cornish hens with a cole slaw salad I made, quinoa with roasted egg plant and zucchini which my niece made. So it was a community affair!!!
There was a croquet game over some very rocky, pitted and potholed turf - the construction was hard on the yard and the yard still needs to be landscaped, eventually this fall. My nephew and his wife were behind and decided to just play by wrecking havoc on everyone else. LH and I did manage to win which is unheard of - not for him, but for me. I am so used to losing that I couldn't even believe some of my good shots.
Although it did warm up some, Lake Michigan was still too cold to really get my feet wet and the one day, it got too chilly and choppy to kayak. Guess we may have to head there again, maybe later this year, maybe if we're fortunate enough.
Now, it's back to the holy grind and preparing for the 4th of July and company.
I am so grateful for the time away and to be with my family - nephew and his wife, niece & meeting her guy, my sister and BIL.

Monday, June 17, 2013

That's how it's been in my little corner of the world.
After I returned home from the Presbytery event, I spent a day in the office catching up, and welcomed a friend from my seminary days later that afternoon. She and her daughter left late Friday morning to continue their journey to Michigan. They drove in all the way from Mass. (don't make me spell it!!)
Well, her daughter had a bug which stayed when they left. I was sick and am still coughing. My voice is barely above a whisper.
Last week was council, preparations for a wedding and the supply preacher for this coming Sunday. I had the wedding rehearsal
Friday evening and drove in extra for that and for the wedding on Saturday. I left the house at 11:30 am and returned home at 5;30 pm. Lots of extra time. I was also madly doing laundry for our vacation. I still have to pack.
I'm thinking of only being here this morning as I put in so much extra time last week. In retrospect, I should've taken today as vacation and we could have had an extra day. Had a couple things to do and line up before I leave, so I guess it all works out.
I find that I am just simply tired. Most of it due to the bug and straining my vocal chords. I'm looking forward to seeing my family and a couple good reads along the way. I know this less than a week away just isn't enough, but it will have to do for now.
I need my time away to see a change in scenery, to refresh, recharge, renew. I know that we will visit a small town with some craft shops - there is a new agey crosses the world religions line store that always seems to soothe and speak to my spirit. There is a wonderful pottery shop that refreshes my spirit and delights my eyes and heart.
And of course, some walks along the beach that simply does wonders for my soul. I think it'll be too cold and too cool to actually venture in. I'm hoping just to get my toes wet!!!
Since my niece and nephew will be celebrating their birthdays, I prepared a birthday flamingo (yes, one of those plastic yard ones) and made a yellow birthday hat for it, two different signs - one for each birthday ( one one day, the other the next), and a lei ponytail holder that slips over the neck and worn as a lei!!! I have kazoo's for everyone! I even made two photo albums. I had planned to give my niece and nephew these photo albums around their 30th birthdays. But my niece's 30th got eclipsed by her brother's wedding in England. So, now the nephew is turning 30 and I had to give my niece her's as well. Since they will both have their spouse or significant other with them - it'll be the perfect "embarrass them to death" opportunity!!! Actually, the photo albums were my Mom's. She didn't really keep up with them, but saved their birth announcements, baptismal service, etc.
I supplied a couple extra photos that probably my sister doesn't have in the albums & photo boxes she has for her kids. The photo albums my Mom had were those old ones with the sticky page and sheet that went over the pictures. Not archival quality. My Dad had taken several polaroids and thankfully, they were all in great condition and I was able to peel off the photos without too much trouble. I've known for years that I needed to get those pictures out of those old albums. Finally, accomplished!!
So, as you can see, it's been crazy busy and I am ready for a bit of a rest before the family all descends at the Lake House and it becomes a chaotic something going on every minute weekend with 8 of us all together!!!
May blessings abound in the further craziness that is still yet before me!!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

During this time apart and away, I noticed that prayer I seem to pray most is: "Lord, help me not to screw things up too much."
Along with praying for God's wisdom and help, this is the prayer I pray most often. I think it was having to play piano for the retreat that brought me this noticing. I believe it will be a prayer that I will continue to pray the whole of my life!!!
It has been a hectic time for me as I have split myself between two denominations.
First, was the Lutheran Synod Assembly over a two day period. Hearing what some churches are doing is always inspiring and encouraging. Having a wonderful, gifted bishop re-elected by an overwhelming majority on the second ballot was a great joy.
Although I couldn't vote, I took the voting time as a time to pray silently for my brothers and sisters in Christ known as ELCA Lutherans, for the Synod and for the work, presence and power of Christ to be with and among the Synod and the Assembly and in the voting. It was good.
I also had time to reconnect with folks I've known along the way, clergy and lay alike, from past congregations I have served or congregations my husband has served. It was good. I enjoyed the morning worship and remembering our baptism on the first day.
After Sunday worship, I packed my bags, for a Presbytery-wide retreat on restructuring our Presbytery. It was to be time apart in a neighboring state at a wonderfully, gracious, holy place infused with hospitality by the nuns. Three intense days of reimagining, of worship, of consolation and desolation, of a variety of MB types, and Gallup strengths, and Change Indictors. As with all God's people - a varietal mix and all needed and honored. Together with pastors and ruling elders under the able gifted and affirming leadership of our GP and others, with God's very real presence and the work of God's own Spirit, we came to lift up three legs for our Presbytery to do its work and ministry in a spiritual way rather than the corporate model way. A breath of life!!!
Since not the whole Presbytery could be gathered, we did miss a few folks whose wisdom, insight and gifts would have been welcomed. I continue to be amazed at how gifted our people are and what a forward looking Presbytery this is. We are tired of too much structure that strangles the Spirit to work and to dance among us.
It was a surprise to be asked to play piano for our worship time, since there seemed to be no one else. I haven't really played much in a couple of years. Oh, to get my fingers moving over the keyboard again! I apologized for all the mistakes that would occur and inviting them to sing over these mistakes!!! Actually, since most of the songs were from Taize and contemplative - it made it much easier for me. There was one new song out of our denomination sampler (new hymnal due out this fall), that I was not familiar with and when I asked who was, not one hand went up!!! We give it our best and that is one to try again sometime.
Our last evening after much intensity, a few hurt feelings, although that still confounded me and most others, a spontaneous communion service transpired. One of the groups presenting a skit, brought bread, broke it and passed it out to their group members and then gave their pieces of bread back and made the bread, although broken, whole again. Fractured but back together again. So the bread was there and there was wine.
One of the planning team members who lead worship, was put on the spot, to officiate communion. I suggested a wonderful Taize song as a way to center us for communion - The Lord is my light, my light and salvation, in God I trust. Truly needed and inspired by God's Spirit. We gathered around in a circle and the bread was passed one to another, while the worship leader followed with the cup for intinction. And spontaneously, someone begin to sing that Taize song and we sang it continuously until the last one communed. It became prayer. Not just the usual Presbyterian sing it three times and that's enough. It was beautiful, healing, encouraging. It was the pure Love and utter grace of Christ present and given to us.
There is still much yet before us, but the whole assembly desired a retreat next year with time and space for quiet and renewal, and spiritual direction. Finally, after 14 years, since my certification as a spiritual director, our Presbytery, our people are getting it!!!! To trust the slow work of God, sometimes.
It is exciting, renewing, scary, to create and re-create, to transform, to be more grounded and listening to God and to live into the Mystery and even of unknowing. Terribly difficult for us J's, but something I have been doing these past 14 years. And, it will not be easy, but it will be transforming.
I pray that our Presbytery will continue their journey, grounded in God, open to God's Spirit, rooted in the love of Christ, and willing to go forward in new ways so that the body of Christ which are our churches, and our Presbytery will thrive (and not necessarily in numbers - which is always welcome0 but in depth of discipleship and mission and living into our calling.
It was a rich time away and apart to be a part of both denominational gatherings, to know their similar struggles and their same desire to be faithful disciples and witnesses in this ever changing world and culture.
Thanks be to God who renews, brings life and brings to life more than we can ever imagine!

Friday, May 24, 2013


In my experience in the United States, people are either "Dog People" or "Cat People." As the graph above illustrates, not everyone is limited to those types of animals. So I am wondering about pets and experiences with them.

1. Are you a DOG or a CAT person? Or OTHER?
Definitely a dog person.

2. Who were the pets of your childhood and what were they like?
We had some goldfish that we usually won at the annual school carnival. When I was seven, we finally got a puppy, a fox terrier
mix we named Rex. He loved to go camping and hiking and we took him with us on every camping trip all over the US. He made his
last trip to Glacier National Park when I was 17. It was in Atlantic City, IA on our way home to Chicago, when we had to put
him down due to congestive heart failure. He was a great family dog and dearly loved.

3. What pets do you have now?
Two greyhounds - retired, rescued racers, Jazz and Renoir.

4. Have you ever had any unusual pets in your household or visit your home?
We did have turtles along with the gold fish. Those were the days you could buy turtles at a cheap department store in town.
They never did seem live all that long though. Then, of course, came the issue of salmonella and they were no longer

5. What have you learned from your pets? Give one recent example, if possible.
Every dog has given and taught me much. Rex was a confident and friend as I was growing up.
Earl - our first greyhound - rescued from a breeder that was shut down by the state of IL and very underweight when we got
him, was my soul mate. He had stared death in the face and was not fearful of anything. He was quiet but loving. He
spooned with me in bed and was a Pet Pal at the Children's Hospital in Cleveland. He taught me courage and patience,
and gifted me with a connection unlike any other, full of trust and companionship.
Baruch - our Beagle was a cutie with velvet ears and stubborn nature. He was a handful and full of the dickens! Always into
everything. He provided comfort and much amusement. He lived to be over 16 years old. He taught me, that God made
Beagles cute because they are so full of the dickens and God made greyhounds not so cute because they have such wonderful
natures. He also taught me that I would never have a beagle again. He was loved and spoiled!
Benny - our second grey - was a sweet and gentle as could ever be. He wouldn't hurt a fly. He knew every swear word and ran from
them and every clanking pot or dropped object that made a noise. He got better over time. He taught me to be more
gentle. He'd bark at the neighbor Dad whenever he yelled at this kids. Benny didn't like yelling. He didn't bark
really, except when he heard those kids being yelled at. I've never known a sweeter, gentler being than Benny.
Jett - our third grey was a looker, a charmer. He got by on his good looks - a beautiful fawn colored grey. He thought he
was still a lap dog. He was obviously well-treated and loved by his trainer, handler and owner. He would stand in
your lap straddling your legs and pressed up against you. He forgot that weighed 72 lbs and was way to big to really
be on your lap. He got away with a few sneaky things being the handsome fellow he was. Jett could charm the socks
off anyone!!! He charmed us and loved his chest rubs. He taught me to take time to be loved and that with good looks you
can get away with just a little scolding. He was an endearing soul and a bit sneaky - ate my sandwich off my plate while
I answered the doorbell!
Jazz - our fourth grey is goofy and has an irrepressible spirit. He's an overgrown, over-aged puppy. He bounces and wags his
tail with great enthusiasm even at age 9 and still runs laps! He gets excited over everything and loves to be hugged
and get his neck scratched. He teaches me to keep a playful, youthful spirit.
Renoir - our fifth and newest grey is a bit of an enigma. He is quiet, fearful of the outside world, wary of strangers. He
doesn't fully trust me yet, but it is coming slowly. We've had him for a year and a half. He's really quite a good
dog. He's the laziest grey ever. He doesn't do laps or play much with toys, just plasters himself to his LL Bean
bed - safe spot and secure. He is quick, strong and can turn on a dime. When he runs in the yard, he shoots off,
stops, and comes back with a quickness and tight turn that amazes. He's the one who pulled me down last
June and caused the quad rupture. He loves to have his thighs rubbed and massaged - must have had that done during
his racing career. He is teaching me to be stronger and he is learning to trust more.

BONUS: Pictures or anything else related to animals you love.