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 It is also the unpublished title of my sermon and theme for this year.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!