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