Thursday, December 18, 2014


I'm just about potlucked out!!!!!
 The whole month has been one potluck after another. Let's see - there was a UMW pot luck lunch to which staff was invited the first Thurs. of December and a circle meeting the second Thurs of December - to which I brought a cheeseball and crackers since it was 9:30 am in the morning and to provide something that wasn't sweet.
  There have been the weekly Wed. Advent potlucks and program at the L church - I made a green bean, ham and spaetzli casserole, Cheddar Broc Soup w/whole grain bread, and a brown & wild rice salad with broc, carrots, feta cheese, almonds with lite champagne dressing.
   There was the second Tues of the month staff potluck lunch at the M church - again I made broc cheddar soup and whole grain bread from Panera's. And it was a ginormous loaf of bread that they were able to freeze and pull out again that Thursday morning for their Advent Soup Supper and worship - they just have one during Advent.
   This Saturday will be the M church staff pot luck Christmas party! This time I will bring a Spinach Au Gratin and tonight I am making truffles to take with as well - Oreo truffles. They are easy but messy.
   I think at this point there has been too many potlucks and preparations to make something the night before to bring in beside all the other stuff I have to do at home. There are still some presents to wrap and many that need ribbons and bows. I still have to write the staff's Christmas cards and put their gift bags together - an handcrafted wood ornament, Lindor truffles and Panera gift cards.
For the senior pastor at M church there is a handcrafted wood ornament and a desk calendar with pictures of space from the Hubble telescope and inspirational quotes. I have one for myself every year.
  Tomorrow is housecleaning. I still have the sermon for the Sunday after Christmas to work on & getting all the little tea candles together for Christmas Eve and my Christmas stole to pull out. Then there is still some grocery shopping for Christmas Day to do. Sigh.
   It has been near non-stop since Thanksgiving. I am so ready. For a vacation.
   I am taking New Year's Eve Day as a vacation day!!!! And will have 3 days off over Christmas.
I will savor them. Immensely.
    Until then, I have miles to go before I sleep...

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Time to take a break, put your tinsel toes on, and play a round of Friday Five for a breath or two.

1. What song are you grooving to these days?
       "Lilliburlero" on Christmas Day in the Morning CD.
        Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas music

2. If YOU were a room in your home, what would it be, and why?
       My bedroom. I think I'm just so busy and so tired, that I just want to sleep!

3.  What ever happened to LipSmackers?  Does anyone remember that lip balm from the 70’s?  Do you have a recommendation for a really awesome lip balm?
      Nivea with lip shimmer - kinda shimmery. Also, Lip Dew or is it Dew Kiss by Avon - that's my
      go to lip balm.

4.  Tell us about a tiny  (or HUGE) grace moment from this week.
       That the day care center is still wanting to relocate to L church. It makes me think that when
       God isn't finished with something or isn't satisfied, God keeps bringing the call back. (Think
       Jonah, or even Moses with his excuses!!!) So, hope is still a small ember in my heart and I
       keep praying that God will open minds and soften hearts.

5.  If you could just have any treat/snack in the world right now, what it would be and with whom would you share it? (assuming you are in a sharing kind of mood.
      That would be some Swiss chocolate, of which we are in a dearth. Hmmm...must be time to
       think about a trip to fill our suitcases!!!! And of course, sharing some with LH. Perhaps, a
       cup of real hot cocoa with mini marshmallows in front of the fireplace with LH would be
       a most wonderful treat!

Monday, December 01, 2014


I am still reeling somewhat that L church voted not to enter into relationship with the day care center.
There was much to be done in a very short time frame - before the end of the year. But I believe, deep in my heart, that God placed before them an opportunity from which they backed away.
   I feel really bad for the day care center that is still scrambling to find space, and may have to close down and let employees go right after Christmas.
   This congregation had another opportunity to give space to an NA group which got squashed almost immediately.
   Every time, I point out that having a presence in the community is important, and that growing churches have buildings that are in near constant use. And who knows, what creative possibilities God is presenting them with. All on deaf ears. There is a resistance and perhaps even fear for their
future. They will not survive long term into the future. One neighboring church will closing the end of December.
   We do resist God. We make excuses. We rationalize. We put extra roadblocks in the way. We are proud. We are set in our ways.
    I have had very few positions, situations come along my way, that I haven't viewed as an opportunity God is presenting and I best give it all my prayerful consideration and attention, even when I feel unqualified for it, or ill-equipped.(which is most of the time.)
    I do believe that a more motivated congregation would have flown with it.
   Maybe the embers have grown old and cold. I still keep fanning the flames whenever God presents an opportunity. Perhaps, they want to die. But don't seem quite there yet.
    I keep thinking of that joke, where in a great flood, a person was on there roof praying desparately to God as the water rose. A rowboat comes by and tells the person to get in. The person replies, "God will save me!"
   Then a motorboat comes by and tells the person to hop in. The person replies, "God will save me!"
   Along comes a helicopter, and a rope ladder is thrown down. The person waves them on, saying "God will save me."
    The person drowns and is at the Pearly Gates. He sees St. Peter and asks, "What happened? God was supposed to save me!"
    St. Peter looks at him and goes, "Well, God sent two boats and helicopter!"
 So there we are, two boats.
 Wonder when the helicopter will come by!!!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2014


The Cure
Lying around all day
with some strange new deep blue
weekend funk, I’m not really asleep
when my sister calls
to say she’s just hung up
from talking with Aunt Bertha
who is 89 and ill but managing
to take care of Uncle Frank
who is completely bed ridden.
Aunt Bert says
it’s snowing there in Arkansas,
on Catfish Lane, and she hasn’t been
able to walk out to their mailbox.
She’s been suffering
from a bad case of the mulleygrubs.
The cure for the mulleygrubs,
she tells my sister,
is to get up and bake a cake.
If that doesn’t do it, put on a red dress.–Ginger Andrews (from Hurricane Sisters)
So this Friday before Thanksgiving, think about Aunt Bert and how she’ll celebrate Thanksgiving! And how about YOU?
1. What is your cure for the “mulleygrubs”?
      My cure is putting on some upbeat tunes that get me moving with the music!
2. Where will you be for Thanksgiving?
       Right here at home! Course, I have some decluttering, dusting and last minute cleaning
       to do.
3. What foods will be served? Which are traditional for your family?
      Turkey! I've been waiting all year for a taste of roasted turkey! Then there's homemade
      stuffing(rice, bread, stock, mushrooms, Italian sausage, white wine, spices, etc), homemade
      mashed potatoes, prepared sweet potatoes, whole cranberry sauce, gravy, the green
      bean casserole my SILs make and bring and pumpkin mousse dessert on a graham cracker
     crust. There will be a cheese ball and crackers and Knorr vege dip with fresh veges for
4. What do you wish could be deleted (or added) to your traditional Thanksgiving day?
       I would love help with doing all the dishes!! Since my sister and BIL were here last
       year, I must be content with them not being here this year.
      I am adding the vege dip and fresh veges which got added last year and hit the spot
      with getting more greens!
5. In this season of Thanksgiving, what are you grateful for?
        I am grateful to be serving where I am. I am grateful that God has provided an
        opportunity for L church to possibly have a day care center and bring life to the
        church and provide a service a community. I pray it will work out. We have 6
        weeks to approve, make changes, and move all kinds of furniture to different places
        to accommodate this, but I believe it is a win-win for both the church and the center
        which was given just two months notice to leave (the old folks home wanted their
         space back for adult day care after a 12 year relationship). So, I am thankful and
BONUS: Describe Aunt Bert’s Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Today is the 30th anniversary of my ordination!
I can't believe it has been 30 years. I really don't feel that old and yet, there are days.
I wish that I was a bit more settled in my ministry - I believed that 30 years ago. However, God, had other plans for me and made me to wander through these years and through my ministry. I do not know what the future holds or where I will be serving, but I do know this; God will lead and guide me, I have but to trust God.
  It has been a long and varied journey, full of ups and downs, twists and turns, some expected and some unexpected but through it all I have been held in God's hands and care, even when I thought I was on the very edges of existence, I have never been beyond the reach of God's gracious care.\
  It will be a quiet day and cold - more like January than November.
   I don't remember all that much of that Sunday so many years ago, except that my home church which had been torched by an arsonist (for housing a minority low-income day care center) was not the place of my ordination. It was at a neighboring Presbyterian Church and the pastor who had been our church's pastor for 38 years was there, as well as the interim pastor who became our pastor.
My folks were there and my sister along with her husband and their baby girl, my niece, now in med school. My sister gifted me with a red silk stole with embroidered flames on it that I still wear. My parents gifted me with a black pulpit robe. I wore a green suit and an opal ring my parents gave me for Seminary graduation.
   A month later, we all headed to Switzerland to celebrate my Grandma's 85th birthday and then upon my return, I moved to OH and my folks moved to Florida. I have been here ever since. Only my sister stayed in IL.
  I remember being very self-conscious, feeling unworthy, yet knowing there was this call from God. I had completed all my education, passed the Standard Ordination Exams all in one try.
  There are times I still question and struggle with my call, but largely God and I have been at peace with one another and it is only by God's power that I have served for these 30 years in God's service. I pray that there are a few more years left to serve and to bring Christ and God's kingdom a littler nearer to whoever God places before me. I pray God's Spirit will help me to be effective. I pray to continue to be a faithful servant of my Lord and Savior.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


for crazy business - Advent Sunday services, mid-week Advent services, a confirmation class on the Exodus and wilderness wandering whose curriculum I had to write complete with handouts, prayer stations, and reflective questions for the family to discuss at home. Then there was the newsletter article due. I am behind in my monthly reports. There was council and my visitation report for the other church.
  Did I mention I still have more Iris leaves to cut down, Christmas gifts to wrap and send, a Christmas letter in English and German to write and cards to address.
  Plus the dining room table has been a catch all and must be decluttered and emptied before Thanksgiving. Dare I even say that it still has the Christmas table cloth on it?!!? I am embarrassed about that. Fortunately, there's so much stuff on the table you hardly notice it!!!
  One day last month, I was driving home on my long commute and was behind a small SUV with the strangest bumper sticker - I (heart) Crackwhores! How awful is that? Not even funny, but sad. The driver was in his 20's wearing a hoodie. It was disturbing to say the least.
   Fortunately, a couple days later while en route between visits I saw a van with several sayings on it: "Today is full of possibilities", Live the dream of your life", etc. very uplifting, redeeming, and positive which more than cancelled out the horrid bumper sticker on that SUV.
  Christ redeems our days and our lives with his grace, love and forgiveness. He is the One who brings hope where there is none, refreshes and renews us with his strength and love.
   In the midst of all this crazy business, I look to my Lord for calm and peace amid these stormy days, for strength and endurance, for the power to do all I need, for grace to work under pressure, and for his endless love in which I am held ever and always.

Monday, October 20, 2014


  It has been crazy busy. I've had two funerals, a wedding, two baptisms, one memorial service attended and calling hours for another attended, in the space of really only three weeks. I am supposed to be writing my curriculum for Confirmation on Exodus, complete with handouts, a table tent with reflective questions, my presentation, questions for small group discussion and closing devotions. I am so far behind.
   I worked on the wedding service and found out, only a month before the wedding that the couple had a good friend they wanted to do the vows, rings, etc. OK, thanks for letting me know. I contact the fellow and ask if he wants to do the message since he's doing rings, vows, etc. I email him, the entire service all laid out and ask in that email a couple times - does he want to do the message, let me know.  He says, he'll just share a couple words before the vows..I spend time and work on the message.
   Rehearsal evening arrives, I get the rehearsal up and going and run everybody through everything.
  Stay for dinner at the church and offer grace.
  Now, mind you this is the granddaughter of a matriarch and granddaughter grew up in the church.
  On Friday ( my normal day off), I leave around 1 pm for the 3:30 pm wedding. Brides and gals are here when I arrive - Grandma has key to church.
   Groom and guys arrive.
    I check in on everyone. I turn on lights, unlock front doors, turn on sound system. Speak with musician, speak with photographer.
   Grab a snack and some water.
    1/2 hour before the service, the other pastor (who knows what denomination, his full time job is a school superintendent) casually asks how long my message is - I figure the usual 4-5 minutes. Then he says, he was working on his "few words" which has now evolved into 5-7 minutes. Ungraciously, I admit (afterall, I did pre-marital counseling with the couple and spent hours on that, putting the service together, and writing my message, plus directing the rehearsal) I responded, with a touch of anger, "Had I known, that would've saved me a lot of work." I walked out the room to deal with some other things in readying the church.
  Three times I had asked him if he wanted to do the message. No, just, "I'll say a couple words".
What an - , I'm sorry, clergy aren't supposed to use those words.
   Oh and the service went smoothly, I didn't give my message - what bridal couple needs two messages - did everything with a smile for the couple's special day.
   I neither got asked to be in a formal picture nor was I invited to the reception.
   Actually, I was just glad to go home even if I was fuming all the way home. That idiot of a pastor never offered an apology or anything. And I am just supposed to take it. Well, I'm tired of it and don't plan on doing any more weddings here or if so, no other pastor. They are a royal pain.
   Perhaps, if I hadn't had two funerals in the midst of all this, I may have had more patience.
 On a lighter note, our dishwasher kinda bit the dust - oh, the repairman, fixed the dial, but couldn't promise how long it would last - a week, a month, a year. We got a wonderful new stainless steel Bosch - so quiet we hardly know its on and really cleans those dishes!
  Our new hot water heater will be coming this week. We thought we'd head it off at the pass, since it's lasted longer than it was supposed to and two neighbors already replaced theirs. I will not be without hot water this winter!
   So, there it is. It's also why I get cranky when I don't have a day off for two weeks!!!
   And now it's on to planning Advent and beyond and praying for sanity and to get through these next weeks that will pass by all too quickly.
   Oh, and I just have to make a Diet of Worms cake for this Sunday's coffee hour. Ever a glutton for punishment. God help me!!!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


OK, it's really Tuesday. I had a very full Monday and simply didn't have time. Interesting, that my star word for the year was "Time". I went from having extra time to little to no time at all. This week I won't even get a day off. Ministry is like that at times.
   For the Meet N Greet:
 Generally we live in NE OH not far from the Rubber City. Although I am Presbyterian, I am serving two different denominations in two different capacities: an interim at an ELCA church, and associate pastor of visitation at a Methodist church. I am married to a Lutheran pastor, hence, I call him, LH.
We were neither blessed or grace with children, but are guardians of two greyhounds.
  For fun, I garden a wee bit - small herb garden and only 8 tomatoes this summer due to the coolish summer and our one greyhound snatching green and yellow tomatoes off the vine and eating them - ripping of branches which made for scrawny vines. I play a type of Solataire on the computer and read when I can and not too tired. Oh, and watch Big Bang Theory a lot!
   The last book I read, was A Nearly Perfect Copy, and I can't remember the author. I really wanted to like the characters, but had a hard time with it. I really wanted them to be better people in the end. It didn't really happen. Although, it was an interesting read.
   I happened upon RevGals in June of '05 or '06 and lurked for awhile until the desire to leave a comment compelled to begin this blog. I have enjoyed the stories, experiences and support shown through RG. There is a diversity and yet it is supportive. It's been a meaningful journey, meeting clergy or church related women and their challenges and joys. Our calling is not easy, but here we can share, groan, laugh, and be in prayer with and for another. Thanks to all of you. Blessings be upon you and your ministry.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


On Saturday morning, well by then, it was nearly lunchtime, I brought home the newest member of our family - Charis - my new van. After 8 years and 141,000 miles, I traded in Mystic, for a downgraded but new van.
  It was hard to let go of Mystic. We drove a lot of miles together through glaring sun, downpours of rain, and snow and ice. She was responsive and dependable. A sturdy, hard working old gal. And I felt bad letting her go. I miss her.
  But there were all the miles, new tires needed and one by one things that would begin to go and cost too much.
  These past few days, I have been trying to bond to this new van. It is not easy. I am nervous every time I drive her. She isn't as responsive. There are fewer creature comforts with her, but a bit more room for the greys. The middle seats are Stow n Go, which makes it easy not to have to drag seats or bench down into the basement for the life of the vehicle and then haul it back upstairs when it comes time to trade her in.
   I am not use to her nor she with me. I hope we can settle in together. I begrudge her downgraded status. Maybe she begrudges me. But she sat on that lot for a time plastered in stickers because she didn't have all the bells and whistles everyone was looking for. She had the basics I was looking for.
   We're already putting on miles together. But it is an uneasy relationship. Some things have changed in 8 years and that too, takes some getting used to. I wonder how many miles and how long it will take before we settle in together and respond together as one. We're stuck with each other for next several years and the sooner we get use to each other the better.
  Oh, but in my heart, I really, really miss Mystic. This new one, she drives like a truck and not as smooth in transitions.
   How does one get so connected with a vehicle when it is just a "thing"? Mystic was comfortable, like a well-worn shoe or slipper; comfortable, conformed fit, moving as one without even having to
think about it.
   Now I am constantly thinking about it, complaining over the thickness of the steering wheel, and having to press on the accelerator more from a full stop. Things I don't know I can get use to.
   I suppose as with any relationship, it takes time to get know one another better, to squabble a little, to appreciate each other. It's only been 4 days. I need to give it time.
   I hope that she will serve me as well and faithfully as Mystic. I'll take care of her as I did Mystic.
Although, I named her Charis, grace, I'm thinking it should be, peace. That we need to make peace with each other. We'll see.
   In the meanwhile, I will work on my patience and not dwell on what I miss, but on what I have.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


at least for the most part. Working these two positions has left me in a perpetual state of lack of time and being tired.
  Perhaps, I feel it more this week with a full week - including church council, spending my Friday off going to the Vet with the one greyhound for shots, stopping to pick up a bag spinach at the store, getting the greyhound out of the van and in the house, cleaning house, making my spinach salad for
lunch, cleaning house, changing from cleaning clothes to better casual clothes, calling my cousin who was indisposed and using that 1/2 hour to run to get my hair cut. When I got home 30 mins. later, I called my cousin and had a good talk. But my Swiss is getting worse. Have to stop and think of the word or it doesn't come and I use the English one!!! Did some laundry and started dinner. Cleaned up from dinner and packed the box for my sister's birthday so I could take it to the post office the next morning.
  On Saturday, I got up early, fed and let the dogs out (aye, 'twas me who let the dogs out!!!),
had breakfast and went to the post office. On the way there, the engine light came on because the gascap light was on the day before. So, at the post office, I opened the gas lid, unscrewed the cap and screwed it back on, as I drove toward either the car repair place or home, I kept checking to see if the
light would come back on. Nope. It did the trick. So, I drove, to the shopping area and found a couple pieces and a b-day card for LH. I got home in time to make my lunch only the phone rang and it was the council president in tears, her grandma had taken a turn for the worse (who I saw on Wed. and had communion in the hospital with her) and of course, I changed my clothes, ate a few raspberries, packed a water bottle, stopped at a fast food place for an unhealthy lunch, and drove 75 mph all the way (one hour plus) to the hospital. The whole family (minus the matriarch's one daughter who lives out of state) were there. She had the pallor of death and totally changed from Wed. Had prayer with the family, went back in and read scripture and had prayer with matriarch. Rest of family eventually headed downstairs while daughter and I stayed with matriarch. It had been about an hour and I was
thinking I could leave, when there was that gurgle, and I stayed and she peacefully passed away.
The family was texted and up they came and we had prayer all together.
   I managed to leave at 3:45 pm and get home by 5 pm even stopping to get yet another $20.00 of gas, twice in one day!!!
   It was a grace and blessing that I made it there in time and stayed as long as I did. I am thankful to God.
  But after making dinner and doing dishes, I had to still prepare for today, go over things, and my Sunday School lesson (again). I had to make a salad for today, pack up folders for the confirmation students, and my change of clothes and shoes for confirmation.
   And here it is Sunday, I have preached, taught, worked on the wedding service(in Oct.) and ate my healthy salad for lunch. I should work on the wedding sermon. I will get a short nap in before heading out to confirmation at 4:45 pm and when I get home tonight - make another salad for tomorrow, clean out the coffee pot and maybe talk to my sister and put my feet up.
   Tomorrow I meet with the family to plan the funeral service.
   On Tues, I'm at M church all day. On Wednesday I am here because I do have work up a sermon for the service. On Thurs. is the service (so no M church) and Friday, if I am so blessed, I will have the day off (which will be spent looking for a new van.).
   I suppose its no wonder I am tired and have no time.
  But I am alive and still kickin' - thanks be to God!

Friday, September 05, 2014


An unexpected road trip last weekend made me aware that there are places along the route traveled where, had there been time, I would love to have stopped to visit and explore. That (missed) opportunity, coupled with a recent article in our local newspaper about things to see and do locally inspired today’s Friday Five.
If someone told you they were coming to your city/state/country for the first time, what five things would you recommend that they be sure to see or do?

  1. The Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame Museum
  2. Cedar Point
  3. Put in Bay - is it South Bass or Middle Bass Island in Lake Erie, I forget!
  4. Amish Country - and Lehman's Hardware store in Kidron, OH
  5. Cleveland Museum of Art
  6. The West Side Market - for produce and meats of kinds (even goat heads) and pastry
  7. The Football Hall of Fame - if one is into football
  8. The First Ladies Museum - for those not into football
  9. The Dietrich Medical History Museum on the Case Western Reserve Campus
10. Lakeview Cemetary - Garfield Memorial and the chapel which has Tiffany Windows

There is more - Cuyahoga Valley National Park
                          bike the Tow Path from Cleveland to Akron for cyclists
                          Coschocton's old village (well there used to be more there)
                          Smucker's Company Store - but you can find the items less expensively
                                                                        at your grocery store, most likely

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Back from vacation and already back in the swing!
With Rally Day fast approaching it's the plan ahead for worship, get Sunday School material together, get confirmation material together, and prep for all!
  With the M church it's all visits, visits, visits! Have three visits this afternoon. Had one this morning.
  Ahhh, fall is in the air!!!!
  The good thing even though our vacation was late, was that I got to see in the flesh, and hold, my great niece. Ok, she cried every time I held her except for once. But she is such cutie.
Enjoyed seeing my nephew and his wife as well. Plus, my niece who came up on Sunday for a quick overnighter bearing the gifts of the produce from her garden some of which we will enjoy tonight!
Seeing my sister and BIL is always good.
  So, it was a busy time with family and a couple days all to ourselves. Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate and we had some rain and two and half days of fog. That's life on the beach or at least what beach there was. With the high lake levels, there isn't much beach to walk without getting wet feet or needing a machete to cut through all the grasses and beach vegetation. So, I settled for some short walks on the beach.
  By the time we came home, the monarch chrysalis was half gone and the butterfly we fostered had made that magical transformation from caterpillar, to chrysalis to butterfly. We missed the butterfly part. Perhaps next year. This is the first year we had a chrysalis on the milkweed so maybe we'll have another next year and be around it to see it get transparent even if we don't witness the emerging butterfly.
   We have fostered bluebirds and now, a monarch butterfly!
  Although, we never became parents, we have fostered some amazing creatures!
  So, onward to make my visits.

Monday, August 11, 2014


  A little Sturm und Drang at the L church I'm serving. Hopefully, the tempest is over as people have talked with and to one another, misunderstandings cleared up.
   Why do we think the worst of one another?
   Course, one person is not easy to get along with, but is also a necessary part of this community of faith. We heal and move forward.
   Then there's the M church. 4 visits last Thursday, two were somewhat emotional. And I went home drained to my very core. I ran from one to another and barely had time for lunch. Not good. I wolfed it down in 15 minutes. Also, not good.
   I am working on my sermon following vacation. It just has to get done this week. And the laundry for vacation. I am all over the place this week. And one week away isn't really long enough. Sigh.
But it's better than no time away at all.
   Now it's off to a Confirmation meeting with the L churches in the area and a visit later on.
I'm tired already!!!!

Monday, August 04, 2014


I'm beginning to wonder if I really should count and track of all the stupid things I end up doing.
Maybe this is one of them, too!
  Actually, it was Saturday night and I was plugging my cell phone in for an overnight charge. This is my own phone. I had already charged the church cell phone that evening after the wedding.
So I grab the cord plug it into the phone and grab the socket end and plug it into the wall socket and off to bed I went.
   After getting up early on Sunday morning, feeding the dogs, letting them out and brewing the coffee for breakfast, I checked my smart phone only to see no little green light on it. In fact there was no light at all! How odd, I thought. I unplugged the socket plug from the socket and checked the phone, it was down to 13% and hadn't charged all night at all. Even odder. I took the plug out of the smart phone and realized, I used the charging cord from the church phone into my cell, and used the charging cord from my cell to plug into the socket. Duh!!! No wonder my phone hadn't been charged.
I charged it while I was at church and put the church cord away in the tote bag I use for that church!!!
(Both phones can use the same cord, coincidently!) 
   Well, now that was sheer stupidity! Next time, I will wait to see if the red light goes on after plugging in the phone! Maybe I will only use one cord to charge both phones! (That seems the safer and more reasonable option!)
   I can only wonder what next week will bring! I hope that's all for this week!

Saturday, August 02, 2014


Lately I’ve been a bit obsessed with tracking some genealogical mysteries in my family. I’m reaching back through generations into the past, but I’m also moving from the past toward the present in an effort to locate cousins descended from the same ancestor. Naming patterns prove to be useful clues in these endeavors, and in turn, lead me to today’s Friday Five theme.
Share with us:
  1. Is there a story behind your name?
            Don't really know. My last name is a bit like Smith or Johnson in a certain part of
            Switzerland. My mom wanted first names that would work in both the US and
  1. If you have children, how did you choose his/her/their name(s)? If you don’t have children,
          how about a pet?
          We named our Beagle after an Old Testament figure - Baruch  Ben B- our last name.
           It was all alliteration. Our first greyhound we named Earl after Earl Grey Tea. Our
           second grey came with the name Benjamin - so we called him Benny. The third
           grey had the name Jetta Nickel and we weren't going to call him Nickel. So we called
           him Jett - therefore, we had Benny and the Jet!!!! The next grey had a weird name and
           because he is a bit of a goofball with an irrepressible spirit - we named him Jazz. Our
           most recent grey was a tough one. He had an awful racing name - not much one could
           do anything with, and he didn't react to his nickname. We tossed around many a name
           with no reaction whatsoever. I really looked at him and it crossed my mind that if
           Renoir would have painted a greyhound, this one would be it. I said, "Renoir" and
           he came over to me. He picked his own name as if he knew that was his real name.
          He's got brindle patches with mostly soft, diffused white - ergo - Renoir!

  1. I named the stand mixer in my kitchen Ethel, and a friend of mine names her plants. Do you ever name household items, and what inspires the names behind them?
          I haven't named any appliances or plants really. I do name my vehicles. Mystic is my
          current van.
  1. Do you daydream about what you might name a boat, a novel, a business, or something else that begs for a title?
           I always thought I'd name a boat - Wind Dancer.
  1. If you were to write under a pseudonym, what might that be, and is there a story behind that name?
           Not really. I figure if I ever wrote anything worth publishing, it would be under my
           real name - for posterity's sake since we have no kids.
  Just realized the 5 things have come out as 1. Oh well! Been busy and have a wedding today.
It's just have to do.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


is what my life is now. Working two part-time positions leaves very little free time. My poor old van is really getting a workout and I fear for how much longer, she'll last. Time for an oil change yet again. Plus new tires are on the horizon.
  Now I not only have my cell phone to check, but the M church gave me a church cell phone. Great, now I get to carry two phones in my purse as if it wasn't heavy enough with all the things I normally carry. Two phones to check for messages, and also another church email address.
  I am using my pocket calendar - shudder if you will thinking how old school - much more now to keep track of everything.
  The weeks will be full, my Friday off - either cleaning house or running errands and a wedding next weekend. Thankfully, the rehearsal is on Thursday evening -so I get my Friday off, but have to be in for the Sat. wedding.
   I still have to find something to use for Adult Sunday School that doesn't cost an arm and an leg,
and order kids' curriculum for the two boys who come.
   I will also have to find something for Confirmation this fall - don't yet know which Bible Story I'm teaching - but I don't have any old resources to draw from.
   I don't even want to think about Advent - if I'm still at L church.
   Maybe, I just some vacation. I am ready. LH is ready. Three more weeks to wait. Can't wait to go and just relax and read. Even though we can barely afford it and board the dogs for a week. It gets so expensive. But our lodging is free and that's a big plus and getting to see my sister, BIL, niece and hopefully, nephew, wife and new baby will be great! Just three more weeks...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Ever just do something stupid?
I spent yesterday getting my glasses adjusted, stopped at two stores and a grocery store. Got home, fed and let the dogs out, made myself lunch and then rushed out to the other two grocery stores.
God home, put items away and checked the answering machine where there was a message from the council president. Opps! I should've checked the machine at lunch, but was distracted by the dogs and getting stuff for dinner.
  I looked up the number in my paper-clipped together directory. I saw the council sheet with President and dialed the number. Got the answering machine and left a message about possibly meeting before music and worship committee this evening. I said I was home the rest of the afternoon and evening. I never received a call.
  Still hadn't heard anything this morning before I left for church.
  I arrived at church and decided to call her. I looked up the number and realized I called the past council president and not the current one. I left a message with our current council president. She called back 10 minutes later and I apologized profusely and explained the error on my part, and having left a message with the wrong person.  \
   What a stupid mistake! Next time, I am going to pull the paper clip off and read the names and not just title on sheet and remember that the pink sheet is current council contact sheet and not the white one.
  Now we'll have to have a meeting next week.
  Sometimes we just do stupid things and pray that God and others are forgiving.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


   It's been a bit frustrating that the church I'm serving has not met its expenses but one month so far this year. I know that many churches have the same problem but usually Easter month is one where income surpasses expenses. Not for us.
   Now contracts will need to be renewed for the organist, choir director and custodian. I'm sure the organist will want a raise although the church is not a position to offer one. He will probably move on to another church. It's not like there's an over abundance of organists these days. I will hate to see him go.
   It is such a struggle and I feel so helpless.
   Then it came to light that a long time member claimed she gave to the church all last year and didn't receive a giving statement. She claimed her giving on her taxes. The financial secretary related that she didn't get a statement because she didn't give anything and she has all the envelopes that were given in offering last year to prove it. They didn't even prepare a box of envelopes for her last year since she didn't give. Then she get asking about the envelopes and they gave her box.
   She is not the only one who doesn't give. There are at least 2 others that I know about who don't give.
  How can the church meet their expenses (which are really pared down to bare bones) when folks are not giving or aren't invested enough to give. Perhaps in a larger that is not such an issue, but in a small church, every dollar counts. Folks have been generous in extra giving - ie: yogurt parfait sales to fund the school district's special needs children's outings, or Lenten food drive, or Souper Bowl.
  I know it's not all up to me, but it wears on me. And I pray about it. And I don't have the answers.
So, I will keep praying and praying for an answer.
   Then yet another family has transferred. This time because they like the more traditional service better. The other family who I've never met transferred to a church closer to their home since the mom is elderly.
    We have had one couple worship with us regularly and attend the Wednesday morning Bible Study regularly. They have been a blessing. They haven't formerly joined since they are still members of another church further away of the same denomination.
    It is a struggle. And so I keep struggling with them. And I try to remain hopeful. And I keep encouraging. And I know that ultimately, it is all in God's hands.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014


  It was just one of those goofy kind of days. A little of this and a little of that all mixed up. I got up fed and let the dogs out, made my breakfast, read the paper, got on the computer to do a couple of things and to finesse the sermon for the memorial service on Wednesday. Made a phone call and left a message.
  Filled out the bank deposit slips. Drove to the Post Office to drop off a box for my nephew's birthday and a couple little outfits for the new baby girl. Went to the bank. Went to the store to pick up plastic wrap that I noticed that morning was down nearly to the paper roll. Stopped to fill up the gas tank and made it home in time to yup, feed the greys lunch and let them out and make my salad for lunch.
  After which, I looked through the mail that I had picked up as I arrived home. I got back onto the computer for no more than 15 minutes, when the phone rang. My eye glasses were already in after less than a week!!! I didn't expect them til after the 4th of July. So, since I didn't have any major plans, except laundering underwear, I drove 20 minutes to the shopping area and got fitted in my new eyeglasses - both pairs!!! I like them both so much, I don't know which to wear. One is heavier and the other very light weight. I am wearing the lighter ones today. It's been two years since my last exam and I noticed that I was using the mid-range for long distance, the close-up for mid-range and reading. Obviously a sign to me that I needed to get this done.
   Since I was in civilization, I stopped at a store and found a shirt. When I came out of the store it was raining and I drove home where nary a drop had fallen.
   I let the greys out, cleaned my glasses and checked them out.
   LH arrived home and I had a bit more of computer time. Then it was feeding the greys their dinner - lamb & rice with extra rice leftover from Chinese food dinner the night before. I made salads to go along with our chicken and heated up left over stuffing from Thanksgiving Day that had been frozen. The very last of that.
   After dinner, was doing dishes - all that doesn't  go into the dishwasher, so there wasn't much.
Gave the greys their Milkbones for dessert and when I let them out, I picked some cilantro to make pico de gallo which adds a little something extra to my lunch time salads. Made the pico.
   Took the dill down that I had hung up to dry and began stripping the dill - and there was a lot - into an antique Ball jar for which I had to buy new silicone rings and filled nearly the whole jar. There is more dill in the garden. Last year was my Sage year with an overabundance. This year, it seems to a Dill year.
   I also made my salad and wrap for lunch today.
   I played some fruit ninja on my phone.
   I  took the 2 bags of last fall and this springs yard waste and one garbage drum out to the end of the driveway for pick up - it all had to weigh less than 30 pounds.
   I watched some Big Bang and the news. By the time the weather forecast rolled around I was ready for bed.
   I never did get around to laundering my undies. I will do that Thursday.
  But it was a disjointed day full of this, that and the other. I will miss that when I begin another part time position as pastor of visitation in 2 weeks. Things will be drastically different and so I am thankful and glad to have had this "goofy day" and the freedom to go and get my new glasses. I doubt that I will have any more such goofy days. They will be structured and busy. But, it will help in paying for my new glasses.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


 All spring long, I waited for signs of life from my butterfly bush. The woody canes were as dead as dead can be. Usually, a sprout or two emerge from the cut-down canes, but not this year. The winter here was brutal and as cold as up in Canada, almost. I mourned for my dead butterfly bush that bloomed so vigorously, lovely lavender blooms that attracted butterflies of various kinds, the hummingbirds, hummingbird moths, and bees.
  I bought that bush up in Wisconsin when the one I bought here didn't make through the first winter. It was on sale and it made the drive home where I promptly planted it in my front flower bed. I have it about 4 years and it has thrived and gotten bigger each year.
  But this spring, there were no signs of life and I mourned.
  About three-four weeks ago, I went to the local garden center to look for a new one. All they had were these humungous bushes at $25.00 a pop and so big that I couldn't dig a hole big enough for it.
We have nothing but rocks under a few inches of topsoil. I even have to be careful where I put my tomato stakes because they invariably hit a rock and aren't in deep enough. I have had to plant perennials in certain spots because I couldn't dig a hole large or deep enough to plant it where I wanted it.
   This huge bush simply wasn't going to work and I was not going to spend that much. So, I headed over to another garden center and lo and behold, they had smaller ones, which were still pricier than I wanted, but would be workable.
   When I got home, I donned my gardening gloves, got my spade and was ready to dig up that dead, lifeless bush. Only when I was ready to dig did I notice some sprouts on the backside of the bush coming up from ground. A mere 4 inches high and I was ecstatic. The butterfly bush that looked so dead and seemed so dead was alive! And it was sprouting! Oh, ye of little faith! A resurrection of sorts - that which looks and seems so dead was actually and truly alive with new life! I was but one of the disciples mourning the loss of one so dear only to discover that it lives, again.
   With the rain, the warming sun and a few more weeks there are about 7 sprouts that are growing at fast clip, inches every day. I rejoice, give thanks and wonder again and anew at the resurrections that happen all about me and remind me of the greatest resurrection of all - Jesus Christ.
   Butterflies, hummingbirds and various insects that come every year will find nourishment and the lovely lavender blooms will once again delight the eye and the soul.
   I was fooled. And God laughed and smiled and brought forth a most glorious and wonderful surprise - new life. I was fooled but in the best way possible!! There is life, life anew that springs forth even when we cannot perceive it. Glory be to God!
   I planted the new butterfly bush at the side of the garage and hope it will grow. Had I known that the old butterfly bush really lived, I'd have bought a peony bush for the side of the garage. Well, perhaps another spring.
   In the meanwhile, I chuckle at how I was fooled! And look forward to the flowering of the butterfly bush.

Friday, June 13, 2014


 So, I survived the loooong Sunday last week with the Confirmation service at 7 pm that evening.
After worship, there was a quick committee meeting, followed by my lunch salad.
  Since Confirmation was that evening, and the Worship committee person didn't have a red carnation there Sunday morning, I ran to three stores looking for red carnations. I had no idea they were so hard to find. There were red roses aplenty, but a simple red carnation - rare. I managed to find a bunch of carnations at Walmart - red, pink and greenish white. They were small, so I knew I had to put three together (Holy Trinity!). I also purchased florist tape and corsage pins. Then it was back to the grocery store to buy a stem of baby's breath and fern frond.
   When I got back to the church, with my trusty Swiss Army Knife that has scissors and really sharp blade, amongst other hand devices, I cut down the 3 red carnations and with the baby's breath, fern frond, and white gauze ribbon, I fashioned and created a corsage. It turned out rather well.
   I also took a nap knowing the evening would be full and long.
   I grabbed a bite for dinner and headed over to the large church where the service was to be - this was a conference confirmation service with nearly 10 churches involved and 25 Confirmands. The interim bishop and conference dean led the service. My Confirmand was a bit late in showing up, but he got there, into his white robe and I pinned the corsage on him.
   It was a full blown Lutheran service with sung responses, a wonderful message by the Bishop, and each confirmand was individually prayed over by their pastor.
   Then followed communion which took a while.
   The large church choir sang and had high school musicians with their trumpets. The recessional hymn was "A Mighty Fortress" that the organ blasted out with the trumpets going and the whole
sanctuary singing - it was majestic and marvelous.
   Afterwards there was a cake and coffee reception and pictures taken with your pastor and bishop.
   Following the obligatory pictures, I made my farewell, and got home at 10 pm. Had my lunch dishes and coffee pot to wash and prepared my salad for Monday.
   I was hoping to leave earlier on Monday for the long day on Sunday, but with a parishioner having knee surgery this week, I had to see her on Monday. She was talkative, which is fine by me, but the visit ran longer than I had anticipated which put me home 15 minutes earlier than usual. Sigh.
Perhaps, this week, I can leave earlier one day!
   Then, I had an interview at another church yesterday evening after meeting with the Pastor last Thursday morning. It is a part-time position as Pastor of Visitation - something I do fairly well. It is also for a denomination I have never worked in before. I have worked with Pastors in whatever
community I was serving and worked with those denominational pastors but this will be new. The head pastor seems a decent sort and not all A-personality. It is a very large church in a well-heeled suburb. (Coincidently, I served the UCC church across the street from them as interim 20
years ago - ohhh, that sounds like a real long time ago!!!!!) The pastor contacted the Synod office who gave him my name and a couple others. The pastor seems really interested and ready to go.
That same afternoon, I received a call from their Staff Parish relations committee regarding a time for an interview.
   Now, I dread interviews. I do not interview real well. For an introvert, interviews are exceptionally hard and nerve-wracking. I really couldn't say it was a shining moment. A couple of the men wore their poker faces, sort of. So, I have no idea what to think.
   I was given a work application form to fill out and fax them, odd, as I had given the Head Pastor my dossier.
   I filled it in and faxed it this morning.
   When I was done running errands and came home for a late lunch, there was a message for me regarding how to go online for a background check. Gracious, I only had to do one of those for another Presbytery. How sad it is, that Pastors have to submit to background checks - not only for criminal records but also credit history records. Where is the integrity we live and in which we serve?
    So, now it's a wait and see what happens. The pastor did give me a hymnal to take home and peruse the liturgies for funerals and weddings, since I am not familiar with them. They are still using the older hymnal which surprised me for how progressive they are. I will be doing some funerals and hopefully, not too many weddings.
   The dogs are due at the Vet for their heartworm check.
   And so has gone the days, the weeks....
   And in the middle of it, I've become a great-aunt (even though that sounds really, really old and I'm not that old) of a little baby girl born to my nephew and his wife a week ago!!! I sure hope to see her yet this summer.
   It's been a good busy. Thanks be to God.


1.  Are you superstitious about anything?  Like, lucky socks for competition, special necklace for preaching, etc.?
     Not particularly. I do avoid black cats though.

2.  I’m going on vacation on Tuesday.  I have never been so ready for vacation.  What are you
looking forward to?
    Time away and apart, visiting my sister, BIL and niece, hopefully, my nephew, his wife and their new baby girl! Not sure yet when we will get away.

3.  There is a lot going on in sports right now–World Cup, Basketball finals, and much more.   If your life were a sport, what would it be, and why?
     A scramble of some sort!!! Just had an interview for another part-time position, having to fax
 info and work on the background screening, plus all the stuff at the church I'm serving.

4.  Hey!  Remember orange push-up ice cream treats?  What happened to them?  What is one of your favorite summer treats?  Ice cream sandwich, popsicles, frozen grapes, fruit pizza, DQ Dilly Bar, etc.?
    I do enjoy a big juicy slice of watermelon and really good peaches. But, I really like
Chocolate Moose Tracks ice cream!

5.  So there is this thing called “Listserve” that picks one random person per day to write an email to like a million people world-wide.  It’s pretty cool. Some people make music suggestions, offer sage advice, or plug their latest interest/project.  If you could write a note to a million people around the world, what would you say?
    Be kind to one another. Work for peace. Love well and deeply. Be respectful. Walk the earth

Friday, May 23, 2014


With church rummage sales happening all around, here are some thoughts:

1. TREASURE: What is the best thing you’ve ever found at a rummage sale? Was it a bargain or just something you’ve longed for but couldn’t afford?
    Probably a couple books when I was a child. They were just 10-25 cents a book. I was in seventh
    Found an old blue ball jar but still haven't been able to pry the top off the disintegrated rubber ring.
    Any ideas anyone?

2. TRASH: What is an item you couldn’t WAIT to donate to a sale like this, and then were surprised that someone not only bought it, they were so excited to have?
    Hate to admit it but a couple horrendous rusty angel face ornaments that a church member had
    given either LH or I for Christmas. Finally, a couple churches later and in a town an hour away
    I was able to give it for the rummage sale. Also, a very oversize clear glass vase that I had
    absolutely no use for also got donated. It felt wonderful to get rid of these things.

3. BUDGET: How disciplined are you at these kinds of events? Can you stick to a budget, or do you empty your wallet?
     Since we have enough stuff already and the church I'm currently serving has a very trashy
     rummage sale, I have only found an item or two and pay a bit more than the asking price, like
     a dollar for something that is 25 or 50 cents. I did find a Hoffbrauhaus Munich beer mug stamped
     Western Germany that I picked up for a Christmas present.

4. TAKE IT AWAY: What’s something you’d gladly donate right this minute if I would just come pick it up?
     Probably our Queen Anne style coffee table still down in the unfinished basement. Not really
     my style, but LH's.

5. TEA: Do you have a favorite tea? Or a special teapot? Tell us more!
      Rooibos - a red African tea. Although it is much harder to find at the grocery store anymore.
      I do have a blue teapot, but usually it's just easier to heat the water in the microwave and
      brew a cuppa in a mug.
      I also liked a Celestial Seasonings tea which they no longer make - red hibiscus with a touch
      of cinnamon, I believe. Too bad, it was light and really nice.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


  Today begins the denominational marathon! This evening, Synod Assembly begins with the most notable charge of electing a new bishop. Last year, the current bishop was overwhelming elected and when she went to the national gathering, was promptly elected presiding bishop of the ELCA. She was beloved here for the most part and we were saddened to lose her but knew she was being called to serve the larger church.
   So, this weekend will be spent at the Synod Assembly - Thursday evening, Friday and Friday evening, and Saturday morning.
   That leaves me with Saturday afternoon to prepare for Sunday (my sermon is already done!) and to make something to bring to the church's last potluck brunch following worship this Sunday.
   After my Sunday afternoon nap, I will be packing for a quick jaunt (ok, 3 hour drive) to Michigan for a Presbytery meeting/retreat. I leave early Monday morning and will return suppertime on Wednesday.
   Since I cannot be in the church office on Monday and Wednesday, I will go in on Thursday.
   It is unfortunate the two gatherings are back to back as it were. Sigh. And I still have to work on the sermon for May 25th.
   I trust that God is in the mix and on the side of the Lutherans and Presbyterians who are gathering to do the worshipful work of the church. I trust that God will grant me good rest and will help in this whirlwind of activity.
   So, let the marathon begin and God grant me the grace of endurance!

Monday, May 05, 2014


Actually, I got back in last Monday night around 9:50 pm and got home from the airport at 11:10 pm.
It was a busy week, unpacking, doing laundry, going in to church on Wednesday, writing the sermon on Thursday, grocery shopping on Friday and mending, going over my Sunday School lesson on Sat and getting everything together for Joy Sunday.
  Met my sister and niece in Denver at the airport that last Thursday in April. They were to arrive before me but were nearly an hour late. Good to see my niece who has spent the past several months in Ethiopia. Good to see my sister, too. I do miss her and wish we didn't live so far apart.
  It was 9:10 pm by the time we got to the restaurant outside of Denver for a very late dinner. It was good though. Then it was a nearly 2 hour drive west to get to my nephew's. We were exhausted after a quick hello, and dropping off my niece. My sister and I stayed at the local B & B - yah, they left the front door open and the room key on the kitchen counter!!!
  Friday was a simply gorgeous day - blue skies, sunshine and about 70 degrees. We went for a long walk drinking in the mountains, valley, river that runs through it, hearing marmots. It was so nice we could even eat lunch outside!!!
  Things got considerably cooler with each passing day and by Saturday evening there was a winter storm warning and it snowed! Enough to brush off the car windows!
   The baby shower for my nephew's wife was a lovely affair with many of her friends present. There was curried cashew chicken salad on croissants, a tossed green salad, fresh fruit, and apple salad. For dessert, there was chocolate chip cheesecake from Eli's in Chicago, and a lemon thyme dessert made by my npehew's wife - layered lemon wafer cookies with whipping cream, lemon zest or juice and thyme. Instead of a game, the hostess had lots of white onesies, burp cloths and socks and we tie dyed them. Pretty cool.
   On Sunday afternoon, we walked around the ghost town of Vail! With ski season closed and summer hiking/fishing season not yet arrived, most of the stores and restaurants were closed. And we were nearly the only people walking around in the cold and flurries!!!!
   On Monday morning we, my sister, niece and I, left with the intent to stop along the way to Denver at a small town to look around. After a filling breakfast at the small town greasy spoon, we headed out towards Denver and got stuck for nearly an hour on Vail Pass Summit due an accident. Probably driving too fast in snowy conditions.
   We did finally get to Frisco - but many shops were closed there too. We did find a few that were open. We picked up wraps to take on the plane since we weren't yet hungry for lunch.
   I came home with assorted souvenirs - a glow in the dark miniature Jesus, an Easter egg wreath, a piece of Raclette cheese, a corded neck shirt with aspen leaves on it and a couple books from the book store, plus a couple Christmas gifts for family.
     The morning that we left - I had on a heavy long sleeved t-shirt, topped with a cashmere sweater, smartwool socks, a leather jacket, and wool scarf. By the time we got to Denver, I ditched the jacket. On the plane, which was warm, I ditched the sweater. When I landed in Cleveland, it was 60 plus
degrees. Felt like a heat wave!!!
   Now it's back to getting ready for Pentecost and what lies beyond.
  Just this past Friday, when I went to the local grocery store, they had geraniums already. It's been so cool this April, I didn't think they'd have them til next week. So, I got my six red geraniums to put in the porch railing flower containers. I figured I'd plant them Thursday afternoon when I had time.
   On Sat, afternoon when I was out on the porch, Hummer, the male hummingbird stopped by. Well, I went inside, made up a batch of nectar, planted those geraniums and stuck the little feeder in my planter box so the poor wee thing would have some nourishment since little is blooming at the moment. Just hope I won't have to take the geraniums inside if it gets cold at night!!!
   Next up, planting my herbs which are on the kitchen counter and have been outside and brought in.
I already planted my oregano in a ceramic pot I found. No more oregano taking over the whole garden. I learned my lesson.
   So, it will be a busy month with I hope some warmer weather. I'm still thawing out from our winter and now the trip to CO.
   Hope all of you are recovering from Holy Week and Easter.

Monday, April 21, 2014


another Lent, Holy Week and Easter! Yay!!!
   We had a good turn out for our Maundy Thursday Upper Room and stripping of the altar. Good Friday could have been better if the person working on dimming the lights had put them all out at the end instead of leaving the chancel lights on. I was ticked about that even after explaining that at the end all the lights should be off.
   I spent Holy Saturday making bread dough, coloring eggs, making pico de gallo for the week, mixing ground beef and making burgers for LH to put on the grill, gathering all the items needed for Easter Sunday - stole, foamie butterfly stickers, tulle butterflies to put on the pulpit and lectern which didn't really stick and then someone made off with one of them, since I was one short after the service. (Heck, they could've gone to the Dollar Tree and purchased their own!!). Then, I had a sinkful of dirty dishes to wash - all the mixing bowls (oh, and I made chocolate mousse for Easter dessert) and stuff that doesn't go in the dishwasher. It was a very busy Holy Saturday as they usually are.
  Easter Sunday it was 70 degrees and sunny - a beautiful day and morning! The service went very well and of course, folks we haven't seen in ages or at least, since Christmas Eve!!! There was a short coffee hour after worship although most everyone left except for a few folks. I hung around to lock up and then drove the hour home for a well deserved nap.
  An individual showed up looking for a handout. I explained that I would be with him shortly and although we don't give out money, that I could gather some food for him (after
gathering my worship things and shaking hands.). He said he needed food. Well, we don't have a pantry and don't give out cash. However, we did collect food for a local food pantry and I was going to raid it and put together items for him. When I got downstairs, he had left. Which, of course, means, that had he really been hungry, he would have stayed and accepted a bag of food. He really was just looking for a cash handout. Apparently, a parishioner gave him a couple bucks and off he went.
What kills me, is these people seem to know just when the most inopportune time is to panhandle from the church - a wedding, Christmas Eve, Easter Sunday - when pastors are likely to just hand over a few bucks because they are so busy and pressed for time.
   At any rate, aside from that, it was a beautiful day, a beautiful Easter day - one of the nicest I can remember.
   And here it is Easter Monday, a holiday in other parts of the world and a work day for me, as I get things together for the pulpit supply pastor next Sunday, load up the van with the donated food and deliver it, load up the van with several Easter flowers and deliver them to a homebound member and make a visit.
  Then, I can go home. Then I can start my vacation. Which will mean doing lots of laundry tomorrow and packing on Wednesday for my trip long weekend in Colorado. Most everyone goes some place warm and I will be packing sweaters!!!! I am excited to see my niece who spent so many months in Ethiopia and my sister who I haven't seen since Thanksgiving, and my nephew and his wife who is expecting their first child in June, and who I haven't seen since last June. I'm hoping the Baby Shower will be fun with all the cute little baby items.
   I am praying that it won't be snowing!!!!
   I hope you all have enjoyed a most wonderful, glorious Easter celebration and that you will savor some much deserved rest in this coming week.
   He lives! Alleluia! And that makes everything worthwhile!

Monday, April 14, 2014


 Here we are at the start of Holy Week which began yesterday with the Blessing of the Palms while gathered outside on a sunny 70 degree morning. It was beautiful. We processed inside to the singing of "All Glory, Laud and Honor" and the worship was meaningful. Some folks who haven't been in church for a bit found their way back and it was good to have a few more folks in church. My sermon, which was shorter than usual, fit in and the whole service flowed without going over time!
So, perhaps, it wasn't all too short.
   I survived my mid-week Lenten service last week preaching on the topic we all had to preach on:
Why We Stand at the Foot of the Cross. I ended up preaching on Luke 4:16-21, focusing on Jesus' mission and the grace of which we are all in need. It preached. The service was Marty Haugen's Holden Evening Prayer which is really moving with much singing. My only problem was that I nearly lost my voice preaching with this upper respiratory ailment. It is slowly getting better.
     LH is still coughing too and has a low bass voice!!! It must be Lent - we both got sick!!!!
   This is that hard week of keeping focus and not merely skipping over to Easter, but making that long hard walk through Jerusalem, to the Upper Room, to the cross at Calvary and to the stone cold dark tomb. One day at a time, one step at a time and I will get there and I pray that I will be in good company of the faithful who take this journey with me each year. Always humbled and overwhelmed at Christ's great sacrifice of love for me, for us all. Then there is the grief and anguish of Good Friday that washes over me every year. And how unsettled I always feel on Holy Saturday, uncomfortable and disturbed and I busy myself with coloring eggs and going over everything for Easter Sunday worship. It is just the way it needs to be.
   May your  Holy Week be graced and blessed and may it bring your heart and spirit to its knees, overwhelmed and humbled by such an enormity of love and grace and sacrifice. May the slow, hard walk through this week bring you to the glorious joy of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and shine so wonderfully bright upon and in you and bring you back to life!

Monday, April 07, 2014

   I am grateful to be here today. Grateful. Profoundly grateful.
  On my way home from church yesterday around noonish, the state route exits on the left and the ramp dumps me onto the Interstate which takes me home. Where the ramp meets the interstate there are four lanes of traffic. Normally, I wait a bit before merging into the next lane right of me. Eventually, the left lane ends and there are only three lanes and after crossing a reservoir the far right lane exits onto the tollway and then there are only two lanes.
  As I was on the exit ramp which curves upward and straightens downward, I usually keep my speed to around 40 mph, it is after all a curve. I will pick up speed after the curve and as I moved downward onto the Interstate. Well, yesterday I had a silver pickup truck behind who was pushing me and I
decided to merge onto lane to my right as soon as it was safe to do so, and it was and so, I did. In the meanwhile, there was a semi truck to the right back of me and to the left of me where the pickup was gathering up speed, was a beige minivan with a handicapped plaque hanging from the rear view mirror and an older gent driving it in the farthest left lane - the one I had just left and the pickup truck was still in - the wrong way!! I slowed down but I couldn't go right with the semi right on my tail. The pickup truck pulled onto the left berm and stopped. The beige minivan going the wrong way kept on going.
   Had I not merged to the right when I did, I would most likely have been hit head on. I didn't see him soon enough as I was checking my right side mirror and rearview mirror to merge to the lane on my right, by the time I completed that maneuver there was that minivan. I prayed and prayed that no one would be hit. The pick up truck got back on the road and passed me on the bridge of the reservoir. I was too shaken to drive as fast as I normally do.
   That was the second time in my lifetime that while driving on an Interstate that I was met with a wrong way driver. Thankfully, both times were Sundays and in daylight where you can see them coming. Night would be a whole other scenario.
   So I am grateful to be here, grateful for a busy week with meetings the next two evenings and the mid-week Lenten service on Wednesday where I will be preaching and then the launch of Palm Sunday into Holy Week and Easter.
   Now if I could get rid of this sinus cold and cough.

Friday, March 28, 2014


Well, we're kinda back on line. The phone guy punched in some numbers in some places and got us on the internet and my laptop. But, it's still not quite right, because the smartphone doesn't pick it up nor my Kindle, even after entering the password for the wi-fi/modem. I am completely flummoxed and totally aggravated! Enough already! I was told by tech support to call the phone manufacturer and after being on the phone with them for awhile and trying a couple things, I was to be transferred to advanced tech support only to get cut off. By then it was late afternoon and I had had enough. I never called them back.
  When I wanted to download a book on my Kindle, lo and behold, after entering the password, it didn't work either.
   I was fuming.
  We are going to change our provider. I am NOT going through this again.
   And I'm too untechie to know what to do.
  So, I guess this being back on line will come in drips and dribbles. By Easter, it should flow to overflowing!!!! At least, I hope.

Monday, March 24, 2014


For today’s Friday Five, tell about five different trips you have made in your life due to different reasons, modes of travel, or whatever category you choose!

Since I couldn't play Friday - being off-line and all, I'll take a shot at it today!
There have been so many trips, it's a bit hard to narrow them down.

1.  1965 our first trip to Switzerland as a family to visit all our relatives - grandmas, aunts, uncles,
     cousins. We were there about 4 weeks and I remember all the visits to relatives, which when you
     are young are not all that interesting. We traveled around some, hiked and had fun just living with
    my Grandma and step-grandpa. They hung a swing - wood board with heavy rope in the doorway
    of their shed for us. The attic was wonderfully huge and empty. I never did make it to the origin
    of the canton's river source as I was too scared of the falling, rushing, frothing water and the
    wooden walkway that lined the rocky dark canyoned walls. My step-grandfather stayed back
    with me. Guess that's where my fear of high bridges over water comes from!!!

2. Summer camping trips all over the US to national parks and historic sites. Yellowstone was
    one of my favorite places - chock full of a variety of natural wonders. Yosemite and Sequoia
    were also great as were the Smoky Mountains. We would go to the evening ranger programs
    and also Sunday morning worships services in the great outdoors. We would hike, and see
    the beauty of creation and its wonders all around us and of course, all kinds of flora and fauna.
    It was a great way to spend time together as a family and to see so much of America.

3. When I asked LH what he wanted for his 50th birthday and he answered Scotland! So, we
    went and had a marvelous time walking all over Edinburgh, the drive to Oban, our time
    on Iona and the week in Ayr seeing Culean Castle, Robbie Burns' cottage, Hadrian's Wall.
    And of course, Lock Lomond, and Lock Ness with its elusive Nessie! What a wonderful
    time we had together, even when the hotel in Oban never received our reservations and
    we ended up at another older hotel that was actually in walking distance of the downtown.
    It all worked out well.

4. The fast plane trip to Florida when on a fateful Friday night my Dad called in tears saying
    my Mom was dying. I booked a flight for the next morning, I called the Stated Clerk of the
    church I had just begun serving as an interim and made countless phone calls through the
    pulpit supply list til I reached the very last one who was able to cover for me that Sunday.
    I got to Florida at 10 am Saturday morning and my sister got in from Chicago just an
    hour later. Mom was lucid and still mobile and thrilled to see us both. She died on Friday
   and we had the week with her and Dad, taking turns with care giving. It was a hallowed
   time of much grace amid the great sadness and sorrow. I was thankful that I could be there,
   that we all were there with Mom when she died.

5. Our very long trip to South Africa to visit a long time friend, whose Dad and my Dad
    worked together in Africa - Ghana back in the 1940's. She grew up in Africa and I
   grew up in the States. Over the many years, both families exchanged Christmas cards.
   When I was in high school, she wrote a letter in the summer. I wrote her back and
   we have written each other ever since and she made the occasional phone call from her
   job. We have since gone to email and Facebook. We had never met and I longed to
   meet her. She's such a stitch! And, we survived the 23 hour flight to Jo'burg! And
   had the most wonderful adventure to meet her and her husband, to stay with them, to
   tour Jo'burg, Pretoria, Cape Town and go on Safari. It was more meaningful because
  I knew my Dad had been in Africa - ok - a totally different country, but nevertheless,
   we touched the same continent and it was the most amazing experience, especially
   worshipping with an indigenous Presbyterian church for two hours and sharing
  holy communion with sisters and brothers in the faith who live such a very different
life on a continent a half a world away.

I have been greatly blessed and fortunate to have travelled all over the world and the US for a whole variety of reasons and each place and time has left its imprint on my life.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I am still fasting from being on-line. On Thursday, the phone person will return and look at the phone jack. One would think when he was out 2 weeks ago, he'd have had the presence of mind that when he got a signal outside but not inside, one would check the wires?
It will be going on three weeks this week and this is the third weekend.
  Ok, I'll be honest and admit I do miss checking Facebook, and playing my solitaire game, but I wasn't wasting that much time on it - or at least I think I wasn't.
  The most frustrating thing about this imposed Lenten fast, is feeling hamstrung in taking care of some work at home and not being to send and receive emails - especially when serving a church part time. That is simply the absolute worst. No email. During Lent. With extra services. And needing to get a hold of people. Or submit worship service information. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaghhhhhhhhhhhhh!
  Enough. Enough already. I repent. I confess my wasting time on Facebook and Solitaire. Restore the signal within and without our house! Create a new and clean fresh start. Cast us no more away from the signal we need to be connected and on-line. Have mercy on us!!!
  Will know more on Thursday, which is the soonest the phone repair person will be out. And of course, it will cost us. Sigh. Simply frustrating.
   Will be in touch when I can and when I'm done fuming.

Monday, March 17, 2014


This is not the fast I choose! This fast from being on-line. The new modem arrived and appears to work all right. We just don't get a signal from the internet provider. Even the guy from the telephone company on his own laptop couldn't receive but a very faint signal or none at all. Everything else is in good working order - computer, telephone line, etc.
  I hope to hear something on Tuesday.
  In the meanwhile, it is severely hampering responding to email and sending email. My newsletter article was a day late in being submitted. I took the laptop to the church on Sunday and sent it in and checked my email.
  I am starting to get cranky about all this! I can be patient but it is wearing extremely thin these days.
Perhaps, I have to pray about getting back on -line. I'm sure God has bigger and more important things to deal with, but it certainly couldn't hurt and maybe, I'll be given more patience.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


After a whole long week, the mystery has been solved. Our modem isn't working properly. Thankfully a new one is on its way and with good grace it 'll be here by Friday. If not, it will be 5 days. That would mean nearly two weeks off-line. What a ---. I can't say the colorful words I would like to.
  I just hope the new modem comes soon and is in good working order.
In the midst of  yet another snowstorm with a midweek Lenten service this evening. I figure I might not get home til 11 pm. Well, as long as I get home safe and sound that's really all that matters.
If I get to the church where the service is and they have cancelled, I'll be madder than a hornet!!!
Being Lutheran, I'm sure they will stoically have the service regardless of the weather!!!

Monday, March 10, 2014


I have been in exile for days now as we have a problem with our internet at home.
6 days of no internet. at all. Everything we tried and with tech support up to this point has not worked. I think it may be the modem. All else appears to be working. And all of it is way beyond my simple understanding.
  I have to catch up on my email at the church.
  It appears my voice this Lent is being silenced in this, hopefully, very temporary exile. It certainly is exasperating and frustrating. Perhaps, I am being pointed to working on things that don't depend on the internet. But has impacted some of my leisure activity.
  So, if I remain silent for a time - it is about getting on-line. I pray it will be fixed before too long.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


More or less.
   With the brutal winter we have had, my trusty old van sits in the garage caked and encrusted with salt. It is so frigidly cold that it cannot be washed. My vehicle is not the only one out on the road looking like this - whitewashed non-descript color.
   Which has me thinking, that as ready as my van is for a wash, so am I ready for Lent. Over and through the year, we get caked in our sin, encrusted by the hurt or wounds we've endured, lost the luster of our first love - the Lord our God, or been slowly eaten by our anger, frustrations, and disappointments. We've covered ourselves up with rationalizations for doing what we do, for what we have said, for the good we've neglected to do.
   And into this season, steps in Lent.
  We come before God, we bring ourselves to God, and we rend out hearts, our spirits - cracking the caked on mess of the past year, splintering the crustiness that encases us, and in genuine honesty confess all. With contrite heart and spirit we come, weeping, lamenting, mourning, fasting, and lay it all before the Lord our God, knowing God can be trusted, for God is slow to anger, abounds in steadfast, ever-enduring love, God is gracious and merciful, full of compassion, and refrains from dispensing deserving punishment. We need this time. We need to come wholly before God. We need to repent from all that has kept us far from God. We need to bring our caked, encrusted selves to God and find the healing, the forgiveness, the new life, that comes from none other.
   And when we do, we are washed in the cleansing grace that is the Lord. And we are whole and complete. Forgiven, graced, renewed, and looking more like God has envisioned us, as we were created to be.
   I am so ready. Ready for Lent. To begin. And to be much more than my wintery self and soul.

Friday, February 21, 2014


The invitation comes to us from RGBP:
Just getting back from four days of silence, I am suddenly thrust back into the world. Wrestling with choices and seeing elderly decline in others, I am flummoxed about a Friday Five–so think of a favorite off the top of your head for:
1. food
      Does chocolate count as a food? If so, then it's chocolate. Otherwise, I don't know where to
      begin! I love spinach and all kinds of food. Hard to have absolute favorites.
2. drink
      Believe it or not, plain, ice cold H2O!!! That is my favorite drink of all. If this is regarding
      adult beverages - probably wine, or a gin & tonic.
3. animal
     Dogs! But I do enjoy and marvel at all manner of animals - moose, giraffes, koala bears, etc.
4. color
      That would be sage green. Just love it and it calms me.
5. time of day
      Evening when I'm home with LH and my greyt boys!!!!
Bonus: Any favorite you haven’t mentioned above that you want to bring up!
            Favorite TV Show - The Big Bang Theory
            Thank goodness it's on so often so I can almost see it every day!!! Never fails to amuse me.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Yes, it was a very snowy birthday this year! More than was forecast.
I had hoped to spend the day out and about. But, when I woke up, all was covered in over 5 inches of snow on top of what we've already had. I was going nowhere.
  So, I did what I said I was not going to do on my birthday. I cleaned house. One of my least favorite things to do on my birthday. Oh well, at least by late afternoon, I could enjoy the benefits of my labor.
   The day got better after a call from my cousin across the pond. Although, she had some not so good news to report. But called to wish me happy birthday. That was sweet of her.
   After I finished cleaning and was preparing to finally get to the bank and post office - for by now LH had blown out the driveway, sidewalks, shoveled the apron after the snowplows came through - the phone rang again! This time my niece calling all the way from Ethiopia!!! Just made my entire day. I haven't talked to her since Thanksgiving although I email her ordinary news from here every week. I can't wait to see her again - hopefully April, after Easter.
   I did manage to go to the Post Office, the bank, the gas station. And shortly afterwards, LH took me to dinner.
   When we returned there was a slice of triple chocolate cake for each of us. And it was creamy, moist and oh, so delectable!!! There were even candles on the cake.
   Hard to believe that I am so middle-aged. Most days I don't feel that old. Other days, I feel 80!
   It came awfully quick. I remember my parents at this age. I remember my aunts and uncles at this age. I don't feel as old as they. Perhaps, because I never had children. There is still a youngish child in me. Children age you. In more ways than one. But I don't have that yardstick to measure my age by - how old your children are and are getting. I can only measure by my niece and nephew and somehow it isn't quite the same.
   There is still much I'd like to accomplish and yet I know I won't get to it all. I will content myself with doing what I can in this time of life - where it takes me longer to get things done and the energy doesn't always last as long.
   In the meanwhile, I'm off to spend my day out and about - delayed from Tuesday. I have a couple coupons for my birthday and will see if I find something to redeem them on. If not, it's just good to out and look around. Eye candy, if you will. And pick up a couple of things for others.
   Thanks be to God, I am still here. Thanks be to God, I have had another birthday to celebrate, if only quietly. Thanks be to God, for the adventure of the year before me!

Friday, February 07, 2014


With Spring just 5 weeks away,

1) What do you anticipate with the coming of spring?
     Oh, I hate to say it - a very busy Lent/Holy Week/Easter season.
     On the fun side - gardening, putting in the herbs and tomatoes, planting red geraniums
     on the front porch flower boxes. The crocuses that will bloom and how, one by one,
     everything comes to bloom!

2) Is there anything you will miss about winter?
      At this juncture with the frigid cold and snow, nothing really!

3) Is there an occasion on the horizon to which you’re looking forward?
      A baby shower for my nephew and wife - I'll be a great Auntie!!!

4) Do you have a favorite spring memory?
      Swinging from the swing set as high as I could with the cherry tree in full bloom and fresh
      clean laundry hanging from the clothesline outsides. Don't know why this image pops up.
      Perhaps, the blossoming cherry tree, perhaps warm enough to be outside, perhaps, the
     freedom and carefreeness of swinging and only 5 or 6 years old, perhaps, the fun of
     seeing the clothes flapping in the breeze with the sun shining. It was a beautiful day.

5) Do you have a favorite spring flower/bloom, and if so, what makes it special to you?
        I really like several. Purple crocuses - because they are the first to bloom here adding
                                                                     a rich purple and orange color.
                                         Daffodils - for the sunshiny yellow.
                                         Hyacinths - for their pink and purple color
                                         Grape hyacinth - for their daintiness and purple hue
                                         Peonies - their thick, gorgeous colorful blooms

Monday, February 03, 2014

The Advent of Lent

Already it is a new month, and just about 6 weeks of winter left - although, we are to get a good snow event tomorrow night and Wednesday morning. Not looking forward to a challenging commute.
  Lent is getting close and I still have to plan out a Taize service which the church I am serving is hosting, and come up with a preaching scripture for a different Wednesday evening in Lent when I have to preach at a different church - the topic:
Why We Stand at the Cross.
   Yes, very general for 4 different preachers to deal with - the lucky one is the preacher who is to "preach" at the Taize service, in which there is no preaching, just silence.
  I haven't a clue really what scripture to ponder and where in the world I will go with this.
I'm thinking it's going to be a really short sermon!!!!!
I need more time to mull, to ponder this and I know I have to submit my scripture as a check that we are not all choosing the same scripture. However, no one can vouchsafe that we may not hit on the same reasons or themes. Ughh, I hate when things are this general and not more specific. Must be the J in me. Maybe its the Presbyterian I am in the midst of Lutherans!
  So, this week I'll be mulling and pondering, discerning and contemplating and most of all, praying for insight and direction. May God's Spirit be at work in me, outside of me, and all around this week.