Wednesday, December 23, 2015


  So, we here on the North Coast are enjoying incredibly unseasonable weather! We will be in the 60's today! Unheard of!
   Yesterday, it was in the 50's and I was on the front porch before dinner time, when I spied what I thought was a leaf that blown into the potentilla bush. So, down the stairs I went and upon closer
inspection saw a mantis egg sac! On this one bush, I tied on a mantis egg sac just this past fall that I found on a spent coneflower stem. Wanting to save it, I tied the stem onto the potentilla bush. This other egg sac I missed because the leaves were still on the bush back then.
   Out of curiosity, I looked in the other flower bed across the front steps and lo and behold, in that
potentilla bush was another egg sac! Never had one there before.
   I thought I had rescued one egg sac this fall and was thankful that I didn't throw with the rest of
cut down stems over the back fence. But now, this discovery, this gift of 3 egg sacs this year!
I am thinking we will be crawling with mantis come June!!! Hope they migrate to our neighbors so we can share the abundance.
    If it hadn't been for this mild weather, would I have even spotted the 2 other egg sacs?
    Feel like I was given an early Christmas gift!
   Looks like my yard is mantis friendly!!!
  Thanks to God for this extra gift and may they survive the winter!

Monday, December 21, 2015


Ahh, the sermon is mostly done! The magnets are done and ready to be given out to folks who come to worship Christmas Eve - Behold the wonder of God's Love. It is also the unpublished title of my sermon and theme for this year.
  The staff gifts are bagged and ready to be distributed including LH's secretary.
  The gift bags for my niece and her fiancĂ© are mostly done - just need the finishing flourish of tissue paper.
   The gifts for my sisters in law are still to be wrapped! Will happen in the next two nights. And bagged.
   A food list is in process - every couple days - something is added and will be picked up!
  The guest bedroom needs to be dusted and the beds made for my niece and her fiancĂ© when they come right after Christmas.
   I have a parishioner in hospice and may not last the week - although yesterday when I stopped by after church, she was doing fairly well. I pray that she will not suffer too much, for God's mercy, and if possible, to hold off til after the new year. However, I know that it is all in God's hands and I pray that I will have time to enjoy my niece and her intended. We have so precious little time to ever see
one another. That is my Christmas wish - to have time with her and J together, for some fun, to talk over the wedding in May which I will be officiating. I pray that all the dogs will get along ok - our two and their two! Poor Jazz will have all his toys taken away and hidden so as my niece's boxer doesn't get a hold of them - he's a toy destroyer. Jazz has a few beloved toys that don't deserve to be utterly destroyed!
   I still have to email three Christmas letter to family and friend. All the cards and letters have been mailed.
   I had hoped to bake some European spiced cookies - just for the fun of it - after Christmas. Don't know if that will happen. Depends on how the hospice patient is doing.
   I still need to get the little evergreen wreath out of the garage, slide some red berry twigs into it
and put it on our kitchen table. In the next night or two, that will also happen!
  On Christmas Eve morning, I have bread dough to make for the Swiss bread to bake before I leave for a full night of church.
   Then just maybe, I'll be ready for Christmas and can enjoy Christmas Eve Day, Evening and Christmas.
  I need time myself, to Behold the wonder of God's love. May you behold the wonder of God's love
this Christmas with time to notice, to hold, to see the precious and tremendous love come to you and for you in the Christ child.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


In just a week it will be Christmas and I have the liturgy together. I just have to print out the scriptures and write the sermon that is floating around in bits and pieces in my mind. It has been a hectic Advent season and for some reason, this year, it has taken me longer to get things done and
together, though not for the lack of working diligently.
  Just last night, after working all morning on my 4th Sunday of Advent sermon, I left for church after lunch and stopping to get gas, then a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up 2 bags of salad. a cuke, grape tomatoes and salad dressing for the mid-week Advent potluck and service/study.
   Arrived at church, checked in - email and phone. Made a visit, arrived back, worked on a couple things, turned up the heat in the classroom. Put the salad together. Enjoyed the potluck. Led the informal worship, two sessions to finish off the study, closed with prayer and benediction.
   Cleaned up from the potluck and was going to leave. One woman with mental health problem and medical issue, couldn't open her car nor find her keys. She called her husband to bring the extra key.
Two of us stayed with her, so she wouldn't be by herself. It took a bit while I was chaffing at the bit to leave for home and the hour drive. Her husband arrives with the extra key - she opens the driver side door and voila! the keys are on the driver's seat! I take off for home and the hour drive.
   Arriving home I set down all my stuff, put the extra salad and stuff away, do the dishes (coffee pot, breakfast & husband's lunch items. Dry the few items. Then sit down to fold and stuff German Christmas letters to family so that they can get in the mail today.
   After a short rest on the couch, I made my salad and lunch for today, listened to the news, caught the weather and crashed into bed.
    It was a long day. Most days have been that way. I am tired. I am worn. I am weary.
  I still have staff gifts to wrap and get ready - including husband's secretary. I have LH's gifts to wrap, my sister-in-law's, my niece's and her intended's.
   Every night this week I will be cutting out business cards from cardstock - with a color nativity scene and words printed on them and attaching them to vinyl magnets (one side adhesive). They will be given to everyone on Christmas Eve - 149 to go! It seemed like a great idea in October. It still is, just extra work.
    In the meanwhile I remain hopeful that by the very grace of God, all will be accomplished and ready for the special celebration that is Christmas!
   I just will sleep most of Christmas day!
May your Christmas be blessed and your New Year graced. May we look to God who makes all things new - especially us!

Thursday, December 03, 2015


 So, last Tuesday afternoon, I was on the elevator of the premier hospital (CC) on the North Coast of OH. Two doctors got off on one floor, as a nurse/or doctor (in scrubs with lab coat and I think stethoscope around her neck) got on. I was minding my own business as I usually do on an elevator. You know, not looking or staring at people. I was wearing my plastic clergy ID tag - bought 25 years ago - and use whenever I make a hospital call so that I am clearly identified as clergy. I was holding my oversized purse, and my Bible in hand.
  As this woman doctor/nurse exits the elevator on the floor below my stop, she said, "Thank you for all the caring you do."
  I was simply stunned. Since it was only the two of us in the elevator (unusual for this huge, busy
hospital) I knew she said it to me as she stepped out of the elevator. I thought maybe she mistook me for a hospital chaplain - but I'm sure they have CC badge and not an outdated general clergy badge.
   Here was this medical professional thanking me, someone totally unknown to her, for caring for
the people I visit. I didn't know her. She didn't know me. We, often, don't credit the medical profession with faith and yet, here, this one, obviously knew the value of faith, of healing, of hope.
In this advent season, she gave thanks to one who often doesn't receive thanks.
   I was so stunned by the unexpectedness of it all that she was through the elevator doors and on her
way before I even had a chance to respond!
   What a gift to give a pastor in this Advent time - to say thank you for caring for all the folks that we do!
   What an angel! What grace!
   And when it finally sunk in - I was blessed.
   Christ comes unexpectedly, when we are not always prepared, surprising us as an infant in a manger and enters our world and lives. And we are blessed beyond measure.
    I will hold this gifted moment as a grace and blessing. I pray for this one who had the courage to speak these words to a complete and absolute stranger, on an elevator, and share a gift with another,
who didn't even have a chance to say, "Thank you."
    But I did thank God for her.
   Who knew that Advent comes in a hospital elevator!

Monday, November 09, 2015


Yup, it's that time of year and I'm feelin' that time crunch.
   The flower bed and garden have been laid to rest. I caught the mantis egg sac on a broken coneflower stem just as I reached down to toss it in the discard heap. I tied it to our potentilla bush for the winter. I was overjoyed that I found it since it would've gone over the fence and into oblivion.
   For the most part, I've been busy with planning for Advent and now Christmas Eve and post-Christmas, mid-week Advent service and potlucks, weekly sermons, one funeral, confirmation class to teach and prepare communion liturgy, and cleaning house every other week. It seems the harder I work the less I get done.
   I am so not ready for Christmas Eve and so not there.
  I have a family Christmas letter to write and not much to say - I worked all year! Not too thrilling mind you.
  I have gifts to separate, wrap and pack for shipping.
  Christmas cards to write.
  A Dec. newsletter article to write.
  Sigh. And it's only Nov. 9th!
  Oh, and did I mention, getting ready for Thanksgiving and getting all the items needed to cook and the house semi-clean?
   The Crunch is hitting me hard.
   As I am planning ahead post-Christmas, I noticed that Epiphany is really short this year about 5 weeks and Lent begins. I am on that snowball that's racing down a mountain gathering up snow,
getting bigger and picking up speed!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


It's October already and I'm not ready for it, yet.
September was very busy with Rally Day and the start-up of our cooperative confirmation program.
We've had several extremely ill parishioners and most of my visitation was running from hospitals to
nursing homes. Some of the folks have been travelling between the two. I was bracing myself for at
least one funeral. Thankfully, she is back in the nursing home and looked better than she has in several weeks. Stable. I am relieved.
   With October, the garden needs to be harvested and put to rest. I have plucked most of the tomatoes and pulled the basil since it's finally gotten colder at night. I still have more herbs to cut back and dry,
and pull some and put down the Sweet Peat. And of course, plant garlic for next year.
   The flower beds need to be cut down, weeds pulled and cow manure and bone meal put down. Sigh. It will have wait til Saturday as Friday is my cleaning day.
  I don't know how much longer I'll be at the L church - it's been three years already as their interim. I know they are in conversation with two other churches to see about sharing a pastor. So, I don't know if I need to plan for Advent/Christmas (which I think I will) but may be gone in the New Year.
    I pray that God will open up another position as the part-time visitation position at the M church doesn't pay much at all.
    I do feel that L church needs to move on and I do as well.
   In the meantime, I know how autumn runs into holidays - thanksgiving, advent and Christmas and am beginning to prepare for the inevitable shortness of time.
    I pray that God will prepare me to take leave of these folks for whom I have cared and open me to  care for new ones. I will miss this church, even with their problems, and sometimes orneriness.
    My van, Eirene, which is 1 year old plus a couple weeks has well over 30,000 miles on it already.
I am slowly getting weary of the commuting and dealing with drivers who hog the left lane, drive way too fast, don't use their standard equipment turn signals, drive  without headlights/taillights in the rain splashed roads so you can't always judge how close you are to them (hello, your running lights being on doesn't mean your taillights are on), and of course, all of the trucks and semi's.
     This year, I only had one Sunday off and am ready for at least one more. Don't know when I will fit that in.
    Transition is in the air. It needs to happen. I yearn for it and I dread it. God is ever present in the constant changes in our lives. God is that steadfast ever abiding presence and I will trust.

Saturday, September 05, 2015


Please share with us:
  1. A sight or view that brings you continual pleasure
           The alps of Switzerland - mountains and lakes, green grass, waterfalls and snow. Every time
           I see them it is wonderful.

    2. A sound that brings you joy
            I love the zen-like sound of snow melting and running in the gutters! And the sound of
            cow bells clanging in different tones in the Swiss mountains.

    3. A taste that you savor
           The melting of Swiss chocolate in my mouth followed by a glass of cold milk. Yummm.

    4. A smell that brings you comfort
           I love the smell of my fresh picked herbs and the scent that lingers on my hands. I love
           the smell of the wood burning in our fireplace and in the crisp night air when I step out
           on the porch.

    5. A tactile experience that surprised you
          How soft Renoir's fur is for a greyhound. He's a delight to rub and hug - except during
          shedding season (8 months out of the year) when the fur flies all over!!!!

Monday, August 24, 2015


Well, August went fast!
 Hard to believe that this is the last week of August. It went by fairly quickly.
And it is dry here. No real measurable rain in a month and more. Every time the forecast calls for
rain, it fizzles out before reaching us or goes to the North or to the South of us. I'm beginning to think that God has forgotten about our little corner of the county. I am having to water the garden and flowerbeds regularly. The grass is dry and crunchy.
  I have been thankful for the summer lull. I really was nearly depleted before vacation and this slow time has extended and made it feel like summer.
   Now it's figuring out what to teach for adult SS and how far in advance do I plan for - dare I even start thinking of Advent?
   We are now in search of an organist (who resigned the beginning of August - apparently he moves
from church to church every few years) and a Treasurer (who wants to give up it for a second time!) and deserves to be relieved.
    Changes that happen in the life of the church.
   The L Church has begun monthly chicken dinners and selling pepperoni rolls. They have been
doing quite well but it takes most of our active members to pull it off each month. We're hoping with the start of school that the number of dinners increases as people drive by - teachers and parents bringing their kids home after school and practice. It's so convenient - you just pull up and tell them how many dinners and they deliver right to your car! For older folks this is a blessing. They have sold out nearly every month since April. And last month had over 200 orders for pepperoni rolls. I pray it continues to be a good outreach for the church.
   I should have been reading more this summer. I'll get back into it. Since I did most of the driving on vacation, I didn't have as much time to read as I desired. So, it's nose into the books!
   Our mantis egg sacks produced at least 2 mantises that we see from time to time. The browner one is the most elusive and this weekend they were only 12-18" apart from one another. Maybe it's a blessing their eyesight isn't all that good or so I've heard. I did saw the greener one actually yawn.
Maybe I'm spending too much time on the front porch!!!! But it is ever so fascinating. Rather than watch it on TV we have Animal Planet or Discovery Channel right in front of us! One can see life
and death, prey and predator from our own front porch!
    Well, the day calls, lunch is over and I have visits to make.
   Savor this last week of August and these dwindling days of summer.

Saturday, August 01, 2015


We’re midway through summer (for us northern gals and pals), a good time to pause for a moment to take a breath before the force of autumn’s gravity takes hold too fiercely, and pulls us into its grasp of programming and schedules and commitments. This might be the last chance we have to pause and check in with our inner divine compass, the soul, and reflect on our inner life.  Here are a few questions to consider as we do so.

What is one thing bringing you joy today?
   The beautiful summer day we had - blue sky, warm temps, popcorn clouds and a quick trip into
   the country through rolling farmland.

What is a disappointment you are experiencing today?
    Driving past a church I served and how that all ended.

When you think about the past six months, when did your soul feel most awake?
    Probably Easter Sunday and even Pentecost Sunday services.

When did you experience a sorrow or regret?
    Having to leave the Lake and family when we returned home. So wish I lived closer to my

For what is your soul most longing?
    A position I could stay in for the next 5 years that doesn't entail driving an hour one way!

Bonus: is there a word or image that succinctly summarizes how you find your soul today? Please share it with us.
    At peace - lakeside with a calm lake, lazy waves lapping at the shore, sun and blue skies.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


  Finally, after 11 months, I had my two weeks (but only 1 Sunday off) vacation!!!! Just what the doctor ordered. My spirit, my energy was so drained.
   I did get into physical therapy for my neck and eventually a prescription pain killer - of which I didn't need to take many. The first one provided major relief from the pain and I actually got a decent
night's sleep. The physical therapy has been helping. I'm hoping that this may be my last week.
   What really did the trick and worked the most wonders (aside from the pain killer) was the hour and a half massage I received at the healing hands of my sister! I felt so much better afterwards, almost like a new person! I wish insurance would cover massages because I would go to a massage therapist over a chiropractor any day.
   Hubby and I spent an extra day in Chicago so I could get my massage and to see my niece, newly engaged. It was good to see her and to have a bit of a talk. There will be a non-traditional wedding in May and she wants me to do the service. Only I had to say, that it would be a Christian service if I did it. If she can live with that, we're on. Otherwise, she will need to make other arrangements.
   The wedding will be outdoors - weather permitting - with lawn games and barbeque. Leave your fancy clothing at home. Sigh. I had looked forward to getting dressed up. I have so few chances of getting really dressed. She's not even considering a wedding gown. Sigh. I hope she doesn't regret it one day. There will be much to do and plan for before then. I did highly recommend that they get some pre-marital counseling before the wedding and she liked the idea. Thanks be to God.
   We made a quick trip to Ikea just to poke around.
   And then it was up to the Lake House - and our favorite once-a -year lunch stop at a Greek
restaurant for one of the best Gyros ever!
   The Lake greeted us with little beach and waves. Had to walk down to the boat launch right next to
the State Park in order to walk the beach for awhile. Water levels are really high. That was so soothing for my soul - a stroll on the beach, sticking my feet in the water, and finding my first piece of beach glass!!!! After all these years, and time and walks on the beach, this was the year. It is a clear piece and I'm thinking how it could be made into a pendant. I was ever so thrilled.
   I got some reading in and sitting in the sun taking in the gulls, waves, and rhythmic sound of the waves breaking on the beach, and even seeing a group of blue herons fly by.
   We visited our usual spots and the fresh cheese curds with garlic and dill are a real Wisconsin treat from the cheese store.
   We went to the World's Largest Outdoor One Day Fish Fry and took in the sights. The Classic Car Show featured some less than classic cars and the crafts were pretty ho-hum. (It was better 3-4 years ago). We strolled around the Sheboygan Art Fest which was a feast for the eyes and spirit. Thoroughly enjoyable and some expensive artwork and some more reasonably priced but all so
   Time with family was enjoyable and good.
   I could have spent another day or so at the Lake.
   But we had to return, and I had the next couple of days off - laundry and grocery run, putting away
the suitcases and stuff. Cleaning house, and going to the Rubber City Art Expo on Saturday - another feast for the eyes and spirit. Managed to pick up a few Christmas gift items.
   So, a slower re-entry back into life.
   Things at the churches seem to have hit the summer lull, only I know that it won't last long as
we prep for the fall and a new church program season. Do I dare even make plans for Advent? It would be my 4th Advent at the L church as interim. Hard to believe!
    But let me just linger awhile longer in this summer lull, to savor its gift and grace, to let my
spirit be renewed.
   May you, too, have a summer lull and savor these warm, sunny summer days for the gift and
grace they are.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


 I can't remember when I have been so busy from Lent until now. Lately, it's been hospital visits and funerals.
  Indeed, one day three weeks ago, I drove to the hospital on the North Coast only to be told that the
patient wasn't there. Huh? I just talked his daughter. Oh, they said, it's at their new satellite building
across the city. Couldn't remember how to get there (it's been 15 years). Receptionist put me on a house phone and some department. I asked the young man on the phone how to get to their satellite
building, and he said he wasn't sure and that they were rather busy at the moment and did I have a smartphone? I responded that he wasn't being very helpful at all and hung up. I obviously was not going to get anywhere with him. Since I drove to the hospital (50 mins) first thing in the morning, I
had to get rid of my morning coffee and used the rest room. On the way, back I passed the Volunteer Office and there were a couple staff in there, so I stopped in asked how to get the other hospital. They told me and it involved a 1/2 + drive to the other side of the city on a main road with lights all along the way.
  So, I walked back to the garage and drove to the main road and pulled over in the Italian section of town to call the daughter. Couldn't find the slip of paper with her number on it. Called home, hubby answered, asked him if I left the paper on the counter. Nope, wasn't there. Realizing I was going to be later than I said, I wanted to call the daughter. I hung up and looked again through my purse and looked down to see the orange slip of paper between the driver's seat and the console. Great. Called the daughter. Started back on my way and got there, made the visit as they were going over his discharge papers. Walked with them down to the Lobby and waiting with him, while daughter got her car to pick her dad up curbside.
  Drove back to the church, had lunch. Drove to a different hospital to visit someone else, and all the while feeling a stronger crick in my neck.
As the day wore on, it get worse.
   It's been really bad. I babied it for two weeks and then went to the doctor and got the nurse practitioner. Tried muscle relaxer and anti-inflammatory meds. Used my microwaved rice bag.
Back again last Friday, tingling down the arm, pain across shoulder, stronger anti-inflammatory
meds.  She asked what had been going on and I went through the litany of just long, stressful days and lots of driving. Last week she asked if there was less stress - I replied, I just got notice of jury duty right before I go on vacation! Then a cell phone rang - I have 2 cell phones; mine and the one church. Their ring tones are different but somewhat similar, I felt which pocket vibrated and said it
was the church phone, and I would let it get to voice mail. She shook her head!
   It still isn't a whole lot better and may have to go in tomorrow. I'm thinking massage therapy
might be the way to go. I think a nerve is pinched somewhere. It interferes with my sleep and
normal movement.
    It has just been back to back to back stuff between the two churches.
    I want to be able to enjoy my vacation and relax.
   I want to get a good night's rest being able to sleep on both my sides.
   I want not to hurt any more.

Monday, June 08, 2015


Share with us:
1) a favorite city, and what makes it so.
       One of my favorite cities is Lucerne, Switzerland. It is nestled on the Vierwaeldstaedersee between mountains. It is picturesque with the lake and mountains, buildings, swans and the long
wooden bridge.

2) a favorite getaway spot, far from the maddening crowd (far being a relative term).
        My sister's lake house on Lake Michigan. It's right on the water, there's a bit of beach,
        a small state park just two houses down and it is quiet, healing, wonderful place to be to
        refresh my spirit.

3) a great local eatery that you stumbled upon while passing through from one place to another.
       One our way up to above lake house, up in Kenosha, WI, along the highway there is a place
       I spied one year as we were ready for lunch - Sparti's. It is a Greek restaurant and they have
       the best Gyros around. We stop there every time we make our way to the lake house.

4) a landscape that inspires or nourishes you.
        That would be on a beach or shoreline of a lake or the ocean. I love the water and it soothes
         me, fascinates me and is ever changing in color or activity. Water speaks to my spirit.

5) a place you long to visit.
        I would love to go back to Greece sometime. But also, to go to Alaska and do a cruise/land
        tour but on a smaller scale than the really big vessels. One day....

Saturday, May 09, 2015


So for today’s Friday Five, tell us about five of your favorite places.

1. My corner on the couch when I have time to relax and catch an episode of the Big Bang Theory.

2. Lake Michigan Lake House up in WI when I visit my sister and family. It's wonderful to walk
    the beach and be by the water.

3. Switzerland - when we go to visit my side of the family. Always good to back in the town
                          where Dad grew up and where my Grandma lived. Spent a lot time there and
                          over the years there's been some changes but it's still a second home.

4. Chicago - where I was born and grew up. My sister still lives there and I love to visit her.
                     Just hate the traffic!

5. My bed where I drop off exhausted and tired every night! It's been very hectic for me since
    Holy Week - baptisms, confirmation classes, meetings, sick folks in the hospital, cleaning
    house every other week, prepping for Sunday services & sermons, bringing in a new member.
    So, my bed and pillow where I can rest and sleep for another day.

6. Extra - my garden, where I've been playing in the dirt; planting herbs, pulling weeds, putting
                in flower seed and fretting over things growing or not growing! There's always weeds
                to be pulled! Next up will be putting in the wee tomato plants.

Monday, March 30, 2015


Yes, it's Holy Week once again and no matter how I prepare for it and with 6 weeks of Lent, it still, all of a sudden, is here!
   This weekend, I snuck the "Alleulia" out of the box in front of the altar, and colored it in with multi-colored crayons. I snuck it back in Sunday morning all rolled up and tied with it's purple grosgrain ribbon and bow. As though it hadn't been touched! I knew I had to do it this weekend,
because with everything going on this week and all the things to get ready and remember, I might have forgotten, and it would have been a disappointing "Alleluia" without the transformation of
   As if there isn't enough going on, I have a funeral service on Wednesday for the M church. Actually, it was a relief and release for this faithful saint who has been unresponsive in the nursing
home for the whole time I've visited her since last July - although much longer than that. My visitation list is dwindling quickly and I may soon be out of position!!! So, there is now preparation for that service - mostly the sermon.
   I remembered to take down the altar display in the social hall - we did symbols of the cross - yet forgot to bring the canvas bag to put everything in. Yikes, it's starting already!!! At least, the altar is ready to be decorated for Easter - if they have a coffee hour. And I will have to remember to bring the bag on Maundy Thursday and take everything home.
   I still have to get a dozen eggs to color on Friday. Bread will be baked on Saturday and thanks be to God, no Sunday School class for 2 weeks!!!
   It's only Monday, and I feel tired. God grant us all strength and endurance to face and do all that lies before us in this most Holy and yet hectic week.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


This Friday Five comes a little late, but it’s a pretty universal one.
What are you reading these days? Any genre, give us novels, magazines, websites, newsletters….
you need not limit it to five if you don’t want to!!!!!

    Although with it being Holy Week or just about and all the preparations, my reading time has been cut. I hope to have more time after Easter!

1. Small Victories by Anne Lamott

2. Faith and You  Vol. 2 by Terry Pluto

3. The Reader's Digest

4. The Joyful Noiseletter

5. The newspaper: ABJ and our free local paper

6. The Lutheran & Presbyterians Today - I read both!

Sunday, March 22, 2015


For today’s Friday Five, write about five signs of spring that you look for each year and most especially this year.

1. The arrival of the red-wing blackbirds, that's the very first sign of spring in this part of the
    country. Robins can be here all year round. (We first heard them March 10th)

2. Rolled up tulip leaves and daffodil leaves poking up from the ground.

3. The first crocuses blooming! (and they are right now)

4. First person washing their car in the driveway! (Some guy down the street)

5. Grilling something for dinner outside. (That was Irish Bangers a week ago) Now
    it got too cold again to grill. Maybe later this week of next week as long as its not
    Maundy Thurs., or Good Friday.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Still trying to be more grounded this Lent, but alas, more keeps cropping up. My star word for the year is "Peace". I could use some right about now!
  While putting Maundy Thurs. bulletin together, the church always reads Psalm 22 while the altar is stripped. Well and because we had a little passive-aggressive tiff last year, the old bulletin folder was removed from the new computer and hasn't reappeared. I did find last year's hard copy of the bulletin and shared the sad news that the bulletin preparing folks would have retype the entire Psalm with every other verse bolded.
   Then as I was going through some flash drives with sermons, liturgies, newsletter articles, etc. on them, I stumble upon a flash drive with Psalm 22 on it and every other verse bolded! Glory be!
I almost said the "A" word, but, of course, we buried it for Lent. But rejoice did cross my lips that God provided this wonderful thing that I had no idea was on that flash drive!!! What a grace!
  We had a visitor in church on Sunday, and a card will be sent to her.
  I have finished Holy Week liturgies and services. Just have to write the sermons.
  I have wisely decided to take Thursday off from the M church to work on aforementioned sermons.
  The sun is shining and the temps are warmer.
   Daffodil, hyacinth, crocus and tulips leaves are popping up from the ground.
   There are two praying manthis egg sacks on my potentilla bush and looks like they survived the snow and cold, hopefully.
   The redwing blackbird has been in our birch tree.
   And I am going on a hunt to find gold foil stars to give to everyone this Sunday to go along with Ann Weem's poem, "Stars of Righteousness", which is worked into my sermon.
  For all these Lenten graces, I give thanks to God.
  May you notice and give thanks to the graces in your Lenten days!

Thursday, March 12, 2015


  Going at full tilt and ever tired! The mid-week Lenten potlucks and services are going quite well. The food has been quite good and a variety. Each week I've presented a symbol of sacrifice and Good Friday service is all done. Still working on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and I have an Easter sermon. Still have to work on Joy Sunday the Sunday following Easter.
   LH stayed home from the Old Folks' Home on Tuesday as his vehicle was in the repair shop - rack and pinion was leaking which he had replaced last summer. Thankfully it cost nothing as it was under warranty! That means he only worked two days this week and had the luxury of getting his Holy Week services together, plus do grocery shopping and his laundry.
   Me. my clothes hamper is calling out to be laundered, I haven't time to go grocery shopping and simply don't have time to sit, and think and reflect in order to write my sermons. (not a good thing, mind you.) Sigh. I'll be taking next Thursday off to work on those very sermons. I will lose a day's pay. But it needs to be.
   This Friday, I have to clean house, put gas in my van tank, and do some laundry. Sat. am I have a meeting with Visitation Lay people. Our visitation list has shrunk a bit and now we have more folks
interested and gifted in doing visitation. Go figure! I'm glad, of course. But there have been a couple days when visits didn't work out or the person didn't want to be seen and I had a short day.
I also have to prepare for Sunday on Saturday. And glue gun some thorns to the wood twig crown for
Wed. service. Over the years the thorns have fallen off and need to be reattached.
   Sunday, hopefully will be a regular Sunday. No confirmation class this week That will be the following week.
   In the midst of this Lenten busyness, the thaw has arrived (thanks be to God!) and LH noted he
heard the trill of the red-winged blackbird on March 10th. I heard it this morning. So, that is a sure harbinger of spring.
   I just would like to slow things down a bit, catch my breath, and be more grounded. I will work on that but believe it will only happen after Easter!
   In the meanwhile, I will appreciate blue skies and sunshine and warmer temps for the gift and grace they are.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


    It has been extremely cold here in the last couple of weeks. Ash Wednesday was truly cold but folks still came for worship although fewer in number. It was a good service with ashes and holy communion.
    Earlier that day, I had a call from a woman who has not been in church for over 2 1/2 years. She
called once asking for the past pastor who had left to take another call. In the busyness of being a
new interim, with so much going on, I had no more contact with her. She called Wednesday asking
if we were having an Ash Wed. service and if so, what time. Our service was at 7 pm. She mentioned that she had to attend an initial meeting with her son ( I believe it is a drug rehab group) and she
might be a bit late, but she really, really felt the need to be back in church. I assured her that she
would be welcome whenever she arrived and if she arrived after the imposition of ashes, I would
see her following worship and impose ashes on her. She seemed good with that.
   In the end, she didn't arrive until the very end of the service. So, we went upstairs, talked a bit,
she took a bulletin from the service, we went up to the altar rail, came before God, and I did the
imposition of ashes, and assurance of pardon.
    I pray and hope that she will come back, especially on a Sunday morning. God's Spirit seems
to be at work in heart and soul and she is seeking what she knows is missing. I pray for her.
   By the time I collected my things in the office, put on my boots, and used the rest room(always wise before an hour commute), it was nearly 9:00 pm and I knew I would be home past 10 pm.
I ran into snow around Akron and then it really was snowing by the time I reached my exit and even the main road was snow covered. I guess I got home around 10:20 pm, Eirene, my van, and
I, all in one piece. It was close to 11 pm when I got my slice of birthday cheesecake with a candle
in it, after 2 calls from family. The temps had dropped down and I had hoped that the other
church would be closed on Thursday. If the schools are closed, the church is closed.
   When I checked the school closings at 6 pm, it was not listed. I was so tired when I got home.
And I had dishes to do (coffee pot and my salad container), knew I would need to make my
lunch yet for Thursday, and then time for bed. Well, my husband checked the school closings
and thank you, God, that town's school was closed!!! I could sleep in a bit for the first time
in over a week! My birthday wish had been granted - to have a "snow day". I was ever so
thankful. Especially after a very long Saturday with a memorial service, and a very cold Sunday morning.
   It was a good Thursday off. I actually had time to pull stuff together for my taxes which I need for this coming Friday. I was able to wash our sheets! Read! And simply relax!!! What a gift and a
    It was so terribly, horribly cold that I couldn't go grocery shopping til Friday afternoon! Even then it was like 5 degrees.
   Now, in the midst of mid-week Lenten services every Wed. evening, I have yet another funeral
service, probably on Monday or maybe Tues. I'm still waiting to hear. If it's Monday, the high is projected to be 9 degrees. That'll be brutal in the cemetery.
   Well, I'm off to prepare for Sunday - go over my Sunday School lesson, sermon and liturgy.
   I already started the funeral sermon, just need to add all the personal information.
   Confirmation class at 5;30 pm tomorrow and a very long Sunday ahead.
   'Tis the season - the Lenten Marathon.
    I hope not to get lost in the busyness of this season and have time to reflect some, but it is already
starting at full speed.
   In just a week it will be March and maybe this Siberian Arctic cold will be finally over. One
can hope.

Friday, February 06, 2015


1) Are you a cake or pie person? What type do you savor on your big day?
      Definitely cake! Especially a chocolate cake. Our local grocer has a triple chocolate that is
      so divinely good!

2) Growing up, did you have a favorite “birthday meal?” How about now?
      Probably was spaghetti. We could pick a favorite meal and Mom would make it.
      Now, I'm happy with dinner reservations!!!!! (No cooking, no clean-up)

3) What birthday traditions or rituals from younger days have followed you into adulthood?
       Putting a candle in a cake or cupcake, making a wish and blowing it out. Receiving
       birthday cards. Other than that, it's a pretty quiet day. This year my birthday is on Ash
       Wednesday - kind of killjoy. I suppose we will have dinner out on Friday. But I will still
       have a piece of chocolate cake with a candle on it when I get home after worship!
           Now, I like to go shopping around my birthday time like to Macy's. (It used to be
       Coldwater Creek but sadly, they no longer exist!). Or I may order something on line
       I've had my eye on as a special treat.
4) What’s the most memorable gift or celebration you ever received for your birthday?
        When I turned 50, my sister and niece and I went on a cruise to the Caribbean. It was
         a chilly February even there. We couldn't go in the ocean, but we had blast on board
         and walking through Nassau and spending time girl time together. That was THE best
         present ever and one I hold close in heart. I love my sister! (and my niece!)

5) How do you like to celebrate others on their day?
        Usually a card and a phone call since we live far apart. My sister, niece and nephew
         always get a present. With LH, he gets a dinner out, a card, cake and candles. He's
       just to hard to buy for.

Saturday, January 31, 2015


Here’s a Friday Five for your amusement and our edification. If you play, please be sure to paste the URL of your blog post in the comments. Or, you can just play right here in the comments. Onward:

  1. Besides cookies, muffins, and ice cream, what’s something chocolate chips are good in?
           Definitely brownies! Fudgey brownies with Ghiradelli 65%  or is it 85%Cacao Chips!
           Mmmmm....must make some!
  1. Besides official holidays and your birthday, what’s the best day of the year?
            A snow day! Time to sleep in and catch up on some stuff. A lazy cozy day!
  1. Besides toilet paper and pantry items, what’s something in your house you make sure never to run out of?
           That would be Cottage Cheese, my breakfast go-to nearly every morning.
  1. Besides relatives, teachers, and coaches, who gave you the most memorable advice growing up?
           Probably the Bible - loving God, loving others, especially Proverbs with its pithy wisdom,
           being honest, and the Psalms.
  1. Besides junk mail, subscriptions, greeting cards, and stuff you ordered online, what’s something great that came in the mail recently?
             That's a hard one. Mostly it was stuff I ordered on-line. But maybe the new JJill catalog
             which I don't count as junk mail. I could say The Lutheran or Presbyterians Today and
             Reader's Digest, but those are subscriptions.
  I don't know what happened with the numbering system, but they all turned out as #1.

Friday, January 23, 2015


1. Winter: What do you think about it in general? Do you love it? Hate it? Or say, “meh – it’s just another season!”
     Generally, I do like some winter, as long as it is not an arctic freeze and there isn't feet of snow from December until March. I love the way the snow falls softly muting everything and coating grasses, bushes and trees, or the way on a really cold sunny morning, the snow glitters in the sunlight.

2. Footwear: Show us or tell us about your favorite winter shoes/boots.
       Pretty basic really, some over the ankle short nylon boots (KMart specialers!) that accommodate
 my bunions!!! Otherwise, I just wear my old, Timberland thick soled and treaded mules with warm
socks. I'd love another pair, but just haven't found any that don't hurt and are thick soled enough.

3. Discuss: Pedicures in winter – necessity or silly?
     I don't bother. Nobody sees them buried in socks and shoes and boots. Gives my toenails a chance
to breathe all winter long. Although a pedi would feel really good at any time of year!

4. Toasty toes: Whether you knit your own or buy them, tell us what socks keep your feet toasty warm!
      Mostly I wear cashmere blend socks to wear with my corduroy and wool pants. They really do
keep my feet warmer. Just wish they made more in ivory and beige and not just black and grey.
I have a pair of beige alpaca blend socks that are truly warm and soft but they don't stay up very
well. I save those for extremely bitter days when I have to go grocery shopping.

5. Driving me crazy: What do you wish the drivers around you would do to make travel during the winter months a little less nutty?
     Slow down! Maintain a safe distance! Just because you drive an SUV doesn't make any safer
to go 70 + miles an hour when the interstate is snow covered! I hate it when drivers are too close behind me, because if I have to stop due to the person ahead of me, they'll be hitting my back end.
I always allow more distance between me and the car ahead in winter if there's snow on the road.

BONUS: What’s the weather like out there? Share a picture so we can shiver or be jealous!
    Today it's around 35 F - so not too cold but it's a grey day. We have more grey days in winter
than just about anywhere.

Friday, January 09, 2015


1. If you have one, what is your new resolution?
    To be more gentile. More gentile with LH, when things get very busy and I'm harried.

2. Many folks choose a new word for a year’s beginning, as Marci’s congregation does with StarWords. Some let their word choose them, like Christine at Abbey of the Arts. Do you have a
word for the year?
   I, too, have been giving out gift Star Words for years. On the 2nd Sunday of Christmas or Epiphany
   Sunday, the congregation is invited to pick out a yellow star with a word on it for the New Year.
   We trust the Holy Spirit is at work in the reaching into the box and drawing out a star word.
   Mine this year is "Peace." Funny, I named my new van "Eirene" and I am still making peace
   with her as I miss my old van. I will be seeking peace this year and being open to opportunities
   to offer peace as well as praying for peace (especially in the world) in the coming year.

3. What is your new favorite exclamation/phrase at times of joy or frustration?
      Lately, it's been fiddlesticks! Don't know why, I just started using it. Seems to help
     when I get frustrated.

4. Do you have a new favorite food, or an old one you are newly enjoying?
      I'm enjoying fresh avocadoes in my salads.

5. Finally, in general: what is your new favorite thing?
      Scrolling through Pinterest and seeing some of the clever ideas people have.
      I have a bunch of pins and someday need to try some. I have tried a couple
      recipes which were really good.

Sunday, January 04, 2015


The new year begins and after a restive and quiet Christmas day, it has been anything but restive.
   I did indeed have New Year's Eve Day as a vacation day. I went to the grocery store for some fresh veges and items needed. I partially cleaned house - vacuumed downstairs, mopped, cleaned two bathrooms. I made meatballs, I made a vege dip. I washed broccoli and cauliflower. I made dinner. At 11 pm, I cooked the made meatballs and washed champagne flutes. LH and I had a New Year's champagne toast with warmed panettone and island sweet and sour meatballs. I went to bed at 1 am.
   New Year's Day, we welcomed my SIL's. For breakfast, LH and I had Eggs Benedict and of course, I made the Hollandaise and made breakfast. Then it was onto cooking green beans for the casserole, preparing fresh veges, and setting the table.
   We enjoyed the time with my SIL's and had a gift exchange. The ham turned out fine and we had a good dinner. There was cheesecake for dessert - I should have pulled it out sooner and left it out longer. Next year!
   Since my SIL's have a long ride home, they left around 6 pm.
   I washed the dishes, dried and put them away. I finished deboning the ham. I grated over a pound of cheese for Fondue (on Friday evening), I baked a batch of brownies for dessert. I did those dishes.
I went over my funeral sermon and service for Friday.
   Yes, I had a funeral on Friday. I left at 9:30 am and got home at 3 pm. That was without lunch (which I confess I went through the drive-thru for a value sandwich). The committal was a 40 minute drive each way.
    When I got home, I re-sanitized two bathrooms and put up fresh bathroom towels. I set the table for Fondue - with fondue plates, forks, etc. I pulled out bread bowl and dessert serving plate and plates. I sat down for a half hour.
   My niece and her beau arrived with his dog - a little boston terrier and a girl dog. Our greys were, of course, intrigued by her. They seemed to get on ok. I served some vegies and dip, prosciutto and olives and cut bread & garlic for fondue.
    Made the fondue which was simply delicious and we ate the whole pot along with every last clove of garlic in it!!!! (at least 12 cloves).
    For dessert there were brownies and we played two games of Scrabble. I was soundly beat both times much to my chagrin. We played against an expert (niece's beau) and all I had were R's, I's and N's with two blank tiles. Nothing of much value and little to make with such tiles.
   Breakfast on Saturday was pancakes and coffee and conversation with fresh cantaloupe.
   After my niece, her beau and dog left, it was clean up time. And a quick trip to grocery store and gas station. I went over Sunday's reader's theatre, prayers, etc.
   I took a nap!
   I received a call about another funeral - this Wednesday. Sigh.
   On this first Sunday of the New Year, I was just tired. Maybe, I'm feeling my age and simply can't do and do anymore as much as I used to. Will have to ponder that one.
   My star gift word for the year is "Peace". Hmmmm....I could use some. And I suppose a call and challenge from God is in that word as well. Will see how I can come to live out that word in the new year. So far, it hasn't started out all that peaceful.
   Did I mention that Lent is 6 weeks away? I'm already stressing over that! What to do this year!!!!
   Peace. Peace for now. Peace for this moment.