Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve Memories

Last night I was delighted to be a part of a Christmas Eve service for children. And in the planning, I wanted very much for the children to be the worship leaders. The expectation was that they be cute and costumed. There should be the telling of the Christmas story and we should sing some of the top Christmas carols. Beyond that, I had lots of freedom.

I have been a part of other church staffs where we basically did away with the Christmas pageant. All too often, these things degrade into the kids being bored or disinterested. Grown ups get stressed. Rehearsals are scheduled in the midst of already swamped schedules and it just gets crazy.

Last night was fairly low stress and not too crazy. We had a service of lessons and carols with the kids participating in a "living nativity" as a part of the readings. Two brave boys, one in second grade and one in fifth, read the narratives from Luke and Matthew. Two other second graders led the congregation in the offertory and responsive prayers. They did a wonderful job!
The living nativity went well, with unexpected moments that warmed my heart.

When the shepherds came forward, rather than kneeling or sitting decoratively facing the congregation, they just stood and looked at the baby. (A real baby that it is! Female, doe-eyed and lovely.) They had to be reminded to sit down. I thought they got it just right! They were there to see the baby, not have their picture taken.

At one point, I looked over to see Mary with her headdress a little askew looking tenderly down at the baby. The baby who is old enough to smile was beaming right back at our third grade Mary. I was so glad to be up on the chancel platform to see that moment. I won't forget it any time soon.

The angels, who are both four year old girls, greeted the shepherds and were then to return to the choir area which is also in the chancel area. But they couldn't keep still. They kept leaning over the rail so they could get a look at the baby. They were so excited.

Despite an abundance of cameras in the congregation, the children for the most part were focused on what they were doing. They didn't pose. There was only one or two quick waves. They caught on to what was happening. It wasn't a pageant, it was worship. Thanks and credit be to God.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas To Do List - Friday Five

With a flair for simplicity, SongBird challenged us all to list five things we have to get done before Christmas:
  1. Get my haircut. Haven't looked respectable in weeks. That's the trouble with short hair!

  2. Buy three dozen small brass bells for the children's sermon on Christmas Eve.

  3. Come up with a plan B if number 2 doesn't get done.

  4. Finally decide if we are putting up the tree or not. The problem is: our current home has very, very short ceilings. Our old home did not. Is it worth dragging the big old box upstairs only to find that it doesn't work? Plus there would need to be major furniture moving or we block the front door with the tree. I'm voting for a different motif!

  5. Make sure everyone is okay with the children's program for Christmas Eve. When last I checked there was a major kerfuffle about to brew regarding whether or not we should have a live baby Jesus. And if we do, who should play the baby? Does the baby have to be a member of the congregation? Does it have to be the baby born closest to Christmas? If the baby is being baptized in January, do they count as a member? We may just use a baby doll. Done! Baby Jesus will be played by a young lady whose parents are members as is her great-grandma. Many photo ops!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Great lines from my favorite movies

This bit of silliness came from a friend on Facebook. The rules are simple.
  1. Pick your 15 favorite movies.
  2. Go to and pick a great line from each one and post it.
  3. Players are not allowed to go and look up your favorite films or google or go to IMDB to get the answers.
  4. Players post their guesses.
  5. Correct answers with the the name of the guesser will be posted.

So here they are! Fifteen great bits of movie dialog.

Woman: It's going to be a long night.
Man: True.
Woman: And I don't particularly like the book I've started.
Man: Ah.
Woman: You know what I mean?
Man: let me think. Yes, I know exactly what you mean.

How dare he make love to me and not be a married man.

Man: Wow, when you come on, you come on, don't you?
Woman: Oh, come on!


…. was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning; ladies bathed before noon, after their 3 o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum.

Here's one I've been pondering: How do I talk to Isabelle?

Speaker 1: Were they sent to Hell?
Speaker 2: Worse. Wisconsin. For the entire span of human history.

Speaker 1: You think I'm nuts, don't you? They wanted to ask me about older women.
Two: Why?
One: Because they wanted to have sex with them.
Three: Where?
One: Here! Right here in Nelson. They wanted to start a colony of supermen who would have sex with older women because they said, and I quote, "they really know what they're doing."
Four: We do!
Two: It's been so long!
Three: Oh, girls, girls! Do you actually believe that there are creatures from outer space who want to have sex with older women?

Man: How do you say in French my sister has a yellow pencil?
Woman: Ma soeur a un crayon jaune.
Man: How do you say my brother has a lovely girl?
Woman: Mon frere a une gentille petite amie.
Man: And how do you say I wish I were my brother?

Jerry: Now you've done it! Now you have done it!
Joe: Done what?
Jerry: You tore off one of my chests!

Man: Apes don't read philosophy.
Woman: Yes they do. They just don't understand it. Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not "Every man for himself." And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.

Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!

Despite the fact that you're one large pain in the arse last night was the best thing that ever happened to me, girl wise, and if you weren't behaving like such a horses rectum you would know that we could be inside touching and fondling all day long until I've got to go to rehearsal. Personally madam, I think you blew it.

Woman: You don't dare go!

Man: Say that again at noon, you'll say it to my horse's ass! Lamb, I'll be rid of you by Easter: you can count your reign in days!

A long time ago, in the underground realm, where there are no lies or pain, there lived a Princess who dreamed of the human world. She dreamed of blue skies, soft breeze, and sunshine. One day, eluding her keepers, the Princess escaped. Once outside, the brightness blinded her and erased every trace of the past from her memory. She forgot who she was and where she came from. Her body suffered cold, sickness, and pain. Eventually, she died. However, her father, the King, always knew that the Princess' soul would return, perhaps in another body, in another place, at another time. And he would wait for her, until he drew his last breath, until the world stopped turning...

Well, sir, here we are again. We've had quite a time of it lately, but it seems that the worst of it is over. Course, the fireworks all blew up, but we can't very well blame that on you. Anyway, everything's turned out fine, as it usually does. Alice is going to marry Tony; Mr. Kirby, who's turned out to be a very good egg, sold us back our house - he'll probably forget all about big deals for a while. Nobody on our block has to move; and, with the right handling, I think we can even thaw out Mrs. Kirby here. We've all got our health; as far as anything else is concerned, we still leave that up to you. Thank you. Bring it on, Reba!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Elizabeth's Shout for Joy!

I was just a girl when I married. So young and full of dreams of what the future might bring. We were just children when Zechariah and I were promised to each other. My mother was so pleased. Her daughter Elizabeth would be the wife of a priest. Her grandchildren would be in the line of Abijah- the family of priests.

When the time came for our wedding- I was ready to be Zechariah’s wife. My mother had carefully taught me the Torah. Together we had sewn the linens I would need to keep a household. My brothers had built me furniture for my new home, including a cradle for the children they knew I would soon have.

But there were no babies. My friends, my sister, my cousins- each one blossomed with new life. But I was barren. No babies to cuddle. No toddlers to laugh with and play with. No daughters to teach. No sons to follow in their father’s footsteps.

Zechariah is a kind and faithful man. He didn’t point a finger of blame. He has told me again and again how much he cherishes our life together. He has held me when I have cried. He has promised that even if he had known there would be no children- still he would have married me.

But I know that he too has grieved the lack of children in our lives.

It is hard to be a woman without children. Our friends and family are understanding. But there was a time, when we were younger, when Zechariah was advised by well meaning friends to divorce me. To put me aside because of my barrenness.

I have heard the whispers over the years. “Poor Elizabeth,” they say. “What could she have done to have the Lord treat her this way?” I have seen the sympathetic looks. People looking at me or glancing at Zechariah. “Poor man, they say. He could have had a large and happy family, if not for her. She’s barren, you know.”

It wears on a person. You never get used to it. It’s exhausting.
We prayed for a child. But the answer was always, “No.”

And then things changed.

On a very ordinary day- a Sabbath- much like any other, Zechariah was serving at the temple. It was his turn to burn the incense that morning. He entered the temple, while we waited outside. And we waited for a very long time! It was strange. I wondered if something had gone wrong. After all, Zechariah wasn’t a young man any more.

When he came out, he could say nothing. But that wasn’t the thing that was most noticeable about him. He had an aura about him. There was a change about him. And I knew at once that something grand had happened to him. Something holy.

When we got home, Zechariah shared with me what had happened to him. He drew pictures and wrote words. The Lord had promised to give us a child. And not just any child, but one who would be a messenger- a prophet of the Lord.
And because of John, the angel said, parents will be more thoughtful of their children. And people who now disobey God will begin to think as they ought to. That is how John will get people ready for the Lord.

Because he questioned the Lord’s promise, Zechariah lost his voice. And I can’t say I blame him. I had my own doubts, but I kept them to myself. And after several weeks, I realized that a miracle had truly happened. At a time in their lives when most women are becoming grandmothers, I was going to have a baby.
I knew that the birth of a healthy child would bring me honor. People would no longer look down on me as barren. The whispers would stop. The pitying looks would be no more.

I took no risks. I stayed at home. I ate healthy foods. I got plenty of rest. And I prayed every day for our baby.

When the time came for the baby to begin moving, I felt nothing. No kicks, no turns, not even a flutter. I tried not to worry. But I wondered if maybe something had gone wrong.

The angel had promised we would have a child. He even gave us the baby’s name- John. The child had to come. Strong and true and alive. And yet it was hard not to worry.

Zechariah tried to reassure me. He wrote in large script on a piece of parchment- “God will not disappoint us.” And so when I found myself feeling nervous or anxious, I would look at those words and pray.

When I was about midway through my pregnancy, I got a letter from my sister telling me that her daughter Mary was coming for a visit. Mary had always been a special favorite of mine. Together we could work on some of the preparations for my coming baby. There were diapers and clothes to finish making. And the old cradle made so long ago by my brothers, needed some mending before the baby was born.

When Mary arrived a few weeks later, I was in the house, washing dishes. I heard her at the door and when I turned she called my name, “Elizabeth, peace be with you.”

And then the most remarkable thing happened- the baby within me leapt for joy.
I couldn’t contain my excitement. I was yelling. I was hollering for anyone to hear.

“God has blessed you more than any other woman! He has also blessed the child you will have. Why should the mother of my Lord come to me? As soon as I heard your greeting, my baby became happy and moved within me. The Lord has blessed you because you believed that he will keep his promise.”

I was so excited. No, it was more than excitement. It was pure joy and the fulfillment of a long held hope. Not just my hope for a baby or my joy at his coming. In that moment I knew that all of our people’s ancient longings for redemption had finally come to pass. Mary, my dear sweet Mary, was going to give birth to the Messiah. She was carrying the Redeemer of all humanity. And in that moment I knew that we could face the future with confidence and excitement.

Can you imagine? Two impossibly pregnant women- the barren wife of an aging priest, and an unknown virgin with neither royal blood nor an important family- singing and praising God- because he had blessed us with this impossible gift.
Mary said, “With all my heart I praise the Lord, and I am glad because of God my Savior. God, the All-Powerful has done great things for me. Hisname is holy. He always shows mercy to his people. He made this promise to our ancestors, and now it is coming to pass.

In the time since that day, I have come to know more deeply that the world is desperately in need of the kind of joy and hope that Mary and I have come to know.
There is great pain in the world- both public and private. People’s hearts are longing for something more. Something different than what the world usually offers. Their souls are hungry for hope and joy.

Despite the fact that we have a connection to God, there are times when, rather than depending on God, we look to our selves for fulfillment. We try to fill the emptiness inside us with the things we can do or the things we can get.
And if we look only to ourselves for hope and joy we are sorely disappointed. Because the good news that we long for- the good news that will fill us up- cannot be found in the world alone or in our selves alone.

And it is to this very longing- to this very emptiness that we sometimes feel- that Mary’s child was sent. The delight, the love, the wonder that we felt that day was sent to fill all the world’s pain- to fill our pain.

We sang that day, not because of anything we had accomplished, but because of the new life that we shared.

We celebrated because although the world and nature itself named us as barren- we were instead suddenly filled with life.

A life that shook the foundations of the world. Even though the world had absolutely no idea what was going on.

I invite you to join in our rejoicing, for one reason, and one reason only, and that is: because God loves us enough to act.

God loves us enough to come to us- to the most barren, the most unnoticed, to the very least of us- TO ALL OF US. And he comes to plant in us, and in our world, God's own life, God's own hope, and God's own promises of peace.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday Five for Advent

Today's RevGalBlogPal posts brings the following:

Christ is with us at this time of advent, in the darkness, and Christ is coming with his light- not the light of the shopping centre, but the light of love and truth and beauty. What do you long for this advent? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? What is your prayer today?

In the vein of simplicity we've been asked to list five advent longings. And I have to admit this is a tricky list to make. Do you wish for the big things for the whole world? Or the smaller thinks for your corner of the neighborhood? I did a little of each.

  1. Less arguing. Not just peace for the world but peace in our daily lives.
  2. More wishes that we all have "a blessed day". This way of saying farewell was new to me when I came to Philadelphia. But there are a lot of church people who rather than saying "Have a good day," when they leave a place or just saying "Good bye" use this phrase instead. It is always a blessing to me when I receive these words. I only wish it was said more often and by more people.
  3. People reading the Bible and knowing how much they are loved by God.
  4. A personal wish for some quiet time for rest, relaxation and reflection.
  5. A deeper appreciation for all that God does, has done and will do in my life. Sometimes I just need to be reminded to stop and give thanks.

So that's my list! The artwork is by Roger Hutchinson. Hope you have a Happy Advent and a blessed day.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Santa Baby- Bookstore Style!

Over the last three years, I have sent quirky emails to the seminary faculty and students to entice them to come down to the store for various reasons. One of my favorite students suggested that I should just blog these things. So here's today's email sent to the faculty with the hope that they will send me their booklists- soon!

To the tune of Santa Baby....

(baboom baboom baboom baboom) (baboom baboom baboom baboom)

Santa Baby,
Just slip some book lists under the tree,
For me!
Been an awful good girl,
Santa Baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight!

Santa baby,
Some January syllabi too

They’re due!
I'll wait up for you, dear
Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight!

Think of all the fun I've missed.
Think of all the students that I haven't dissed.
Next year I could be just as good,
If you'll check off my Christmas list!

Santa Baby,
I want to mark the invoices “bought,”
Really that’s not
A lot.

Been an angel all year,
Santa Baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight!

Santa honey,
one little thing I really need

To read
Dr. Wengert’s book list,
Santa Baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight!

Santa cutie, and fill my mailbox with some fed ex
And texts,
For the purchasing line,
Santa cutie,
and hurry down the chimney tonight!

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With some emails from the profs at LTSP!
I really do believe in you.
Lets see if you believe in me!

Santa Baby,
Forgot to mention one little thing

A ring.
Yes, I mean on the phone!
Santa Baby,
please call me with the book lists tonight!

Hurry down the chimney tonight!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Where has she been?

It has been an incredibly long time since I last blogged. This has happened before. A dry spot in the need to write. It's an oddity among bloggers. It started when our desktop pc died and Soda Chicky took over the laptop. It was summer and she seemed to always be attached to the machine. The girl was reading Fan Fiction, instant messaging her friends, swapping books on Swap Tree. I just gave up trying to get a turn.

Then I learned to knit. And so it seemed that much of my blogging time was filled with trying to figure out how to knit on double pointed needles and looking for dropped stitches. Fall began and the Chick had her own laptop provided by the school system. Hurrah! I thought. Now's my chance. But there are restrictions to the Chick's use of her school computer. Any fan fiction or other silliness needed to happen on my laptop. Plus I was out of practice. So still no blogging. And even less reading of other blogs.

This last month I learned that my job is going to change in April. For those who haven't guessed what an ELCA pastor with a specialized call does in Philadelphia- I work at the seminary. I manage the Augsburg Fortress store that is on campus. It was announced that Augsburg Fortress will be closing all of its retail stores on April 30, 2009. So I will be looking for a new call. It may be possible that the seminary will retain the bookstore under its own management and I would be the likely candidate to manage the store. But there is a lot to look at on both sides before that decision can be finalized.

In the meantime, I had hand surgery last week. I had a trigger thumb which means lousy tendonitis that kept my thumb from bending the way thumbs are supposed to bend. It gets better every day, but I have been accused of trying to keep up with the Bug Man who had a second hand surgery earlier this Fall. He is still off from work and so now we begin the process of doing hand exercises together. (This is not as much fun as it sounds.)

I've also taken on a sweet little part-time job at a small church nearby. I am the "Minister of Christian Education." This means working with the Sunday School of a dozen or so kids aged 10 and under and doing the weekly children's sermon. I am having a great time on Sunday mornings and this experience may help greatly in the ongoing discernment process.

So that's where I've been and what I've been doing. I've been thinking about blogging for the last few weeks, so I think the dry spell is over!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Visiting Molly and her Mom

This past week the Chick and I were in the northern state where Molly lives with her mom Songbird. We were on a work related trip that we were pretending was a vacation. Visiting with Songbird's family made it seem LOTS more like a vacation. We had some of the best fries ever and a lovely visit! We even got to hear Molly's famous Ruu-ruu.
We spent a lot of time in our car over the ten days we were gone. At one point it felt like we had spent an entire day just in the Bronx as we ventured south. Actually it was just two hours but what a long two hours!
We saw our friend the Jersey Girl for a couple of days. As always we had a great time with her. One night we went to the local boardwalk where there was a dance. It was a fascinating combination of people. Many of the young adults were a part of a program for mentally challenged teens. They were having a great time along with moms, dads, little kids and seniors. There were people from all kinds of backgrounds, in all kinds of colors. It made for wonderful people watching. And as the Chick pointed out, nobody seemed to notice or care about all the differences. They were just there to dance and listen to the music.
I had more than one opportunity to just sit and stare at the ocean. It was good for the soul. And on one night we sat on the beach and watched a spectacular fireworks show. We were as close to the place where they shot them off as you could be without being in danger of sparks in your hair. The Chick said it made her nervous but I thought it was exhilarating. You could feel the booms in your body as the rockets went off. It was fabulous! Not crowded. Not hot. Just a wonderful show of light and sound with the ocean at your feet. Such a treasure!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Five: What's in a name?

It's my week to post the Friday Five and after having dinner with Songbird and her Princess, I knew what I had to do!

If you are a regular reader of Songbird's blog, you know that "The Princess" has requested a new name. Her older brother changed his "secret identity" a while back and now this lovely young lady is searching for a new name on her mother's blog. This got me to thinking. How do we come up with all of these names? There must be at least a few good stories out there.

In honor of the Princess I have posted a picture of one of my favorite members of fictional royalty, Robert Munch's "Paperback Princess." She is a brave young woman who doesn't need anyone else to fight her battles. And she knows that what is most important isn't tiaras and finery but what's on the inside. If you haven't read this little fairy tale, I highly recommend it. But I digress.
  1. So how did you come up with your blogging name? My blogging name RevHRod is related to a high school nickname. My friends in the art department used to call me H. Rod because of the sloppy way I signed my photograph. Before I was a Rev it was my aol screen name. Post ordination, I modified. And/or the name of your blog? I wanted to feel that my blogging was more about the writing than the reading. And Baby Sister really did say this to my mother one day when Mountain Mama was too tired/preoccupied to listen to the musings of a five year old. Baby Sister said, "That's okay, Mom. You don't have to listen, I just like to talk."
  2. Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there? Soda Chicky is my daughter's secret identity. She gave it to herself when she started IMing people. Don't know what it means and I'm not sure she does either. But some how it fits. The Bug Man is my husband who does pest control. My sisters named themselves as did my mother. My staff has been given names that have a strange little connection in my brain.
  3. What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama, or sheer, crazy fun? Pink Shoes in the Pulpit; Freshly Ground Freshly Brewed (I love her handle- Hot Cup Lutheran); The Vicar of Hogsmeade.
  4. What three blogs are you devoted to? Other than the RevGalBlogPals blog of course! When I have no energy to read any other blogs, I find myself coming back again and again to see how Will's Mama, Songbird and Presby Gal are getting along in the world.
  5. Who introduced you to the world of blogging and why? My dear friend Lutheran Zephyr introduced me to blogging. His wife told him he needed a blog because he had too many opinions and she couldn't listen to ALL of them. It seemed like a good reason to blog.

Bonus question: Have you ever met any of your blogging friends? Where are some of the places you've met these fun folks? I met a bunch on the BE and it was wonderful! I've also run into Pink Shoes at the ELCA National Assembly and some others that I'm not coming up with right now because I'm too sleepy!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Friday Five - Fireworks Edition

On the RevGalBlogPals Friday Five, Sally has this to say:

I have to admit that I am chuckling to myself a little; how strange it seems for me a Brit to be posting the Friday Five on 4th July! I realise that most of our revgals will be celebrating in some way today, but I hope that you can make a little room for Friday Five! From my short stay in Texas my memories of the celebrations are of fireworks and picnics, one year we went in to central Houston to watch the fireworks and hear the Symphony Orchestra play, we were welcomed and included, and that meant a lot!

So lets have a bit of fun:

1. Barbeque's or picnics ( or are they essentially the same thing?) Barbeque to me always means staying put- our house or someone else's. Picnics are for the park or in a family twist- a blanket on the living room floor eating pizza. The only exception is when we were kids. My parents would take us to the community pool and send us off to swim. While we were in the pool they would heat up the little hibachi grill they had brought along. Then it was hot dogs or burgers after our swim.

2. The park/ the lake/ the beach or staying at home simply being? The Bug Man and Soda Chicky feel that if it's a summer holiday then we need to have ribs. Ribs means babysitting them for four to six hours while they slow roast in the oven before grilling them outside. A spice rub, basting with pineapple juice and a great sauce at the end. Yummy, messy, good eating!

3. Fireworks- love 'em or hate 'em? Love the fireworks. Hate the crowds, the sweaty heat and the bugs. There are enough local fireworks that we frequently sit in the yard and watch from afar.

4. Parades- have you ever taken part- share a memory... In my first parish in little town Missouri, our church took part in the local Memorial Day parade. We decorated a hay wagon with a large red bow and huge gift tag. On the float were our Sunday School kids in the Christmas program outfits. The gift of Jesus and his love were our entry in the parade.

5. Time for a musical interlude- if you could sum up holidays in a piece of music what would it be? No specifics but it is always fun to hear a brass band- often a military one- playing great marches for the holidays.

When I was a kid we weren't allowed to set off fireworks at home. Papa Joe saw a friend get seriously hurt when he was a kid, so he made sure his own kids were kept at a distance from such things. As an adult I visited friends in Southern California who had to stay home over the fourth in case their homes were hit by stray sparks. With wood shingles, there was a great risk of fire. I love the fireworks show, but here is hoping you and yours have a Fourth that's safe as well as fun!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Are you addicted to Facebook?

In April, Baby Sister double dog dared me to get a Facebook account. Actually, she said that if I didn't sign up she would do it for me. What choice did I have?

So now I have a Facebook account. If you know my real name you can find me pretty easily. I mostly wanted to join up so that I could play Scrabulous. I love Scrabble. And now I can play Scrabble with Songbird, Baby Sister and other online friends.

But I also find that I want to know what's going on with my community. My workspace is in the basement of our building. Things happen above ground and sometimes I miss things. Now I know stuff that I don't even need to know. It's a strange lurking kind of thing. And yet it's not.

Soda Chicky has a Facebook account. I can look at the pictures she posts from various parties and field trips. A couple of her friends have also "friended" me. One of her friends thinks it is too, too strange that I have Facebook. But the Chick and I have agreed that there is nothing creepy about all of this and we feel comfortable with seeing what the other one is up to.

I have had chats with kids who used to be in my youth group and are now grown up. I caught up with a friend from high school and two of Baby Sister's old boyfriends. (They found me, not the other way around.)

And then there's Flair. It's an addictive thing. How much Flair can you send? How much Flair do you get? Do you make your own Flair for special occasions?

And that Lil' Green thing. How can sending an email really help the environment? I think it might be a scam and yet people keep sending me these pretend plants. I'm totally confused about that one.

So I am trying not to become too addicted to Facebook and yet...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Why do they yell from the other room?

I love my teenager. Really I do. But why is it that she is forever trying to tell me something when she is down the hall in another room. Say... the bathroom. Not only are there walls between us but it's summer and the air conditioner is making its own little strange noises. And the room where she is... the one with the running water... is also the room where the dryer is spinning and the washer is running.

Unless I develop some kind of super sonic hearing, I am never going to hear her. And then when she comes into the room where I CAN hear her, she over enunciates because clearly the reason I couldn't understand her before was because she was talking to quickly. Did I do this when I was fifteen? If I did, my mother should have given me a smack. I haven't smacked my kid, but it is times like this that make me think, "What is the deal with this girl?"

Sigh... Okay, I love my teenager. She helped me with my sermon on Saturday night and even gave Cheesehead a hook for her sermon.

She refuses to leave early for our combination work trip/vacation to the far northern state because she wants to go to the going away party for a member of my staff. She knows that there will be nothing there that she wants to eat. (Ooh! Boiled seafood! I'll eat before we go!) But she is determined that she be there for the Tinman's fond farewell. Gotta love it!

So that's what's happening at my house tonight. I just wanted to grouse. Thanks for listening.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Five at the Beach

Well it's been a month since I blogged. A busy, crazy kind of month. But I am determined to get back into this whole blogging thing!

This week Mother Laura at RGBP posted a set of memory joggers related to a day at the beach. So here goes!

1. Ocean rocks, lake limps? Vice versa? Or "it's all beautiful in its own way"? When I was a girl we used to go to Asilomar near Monterey, California every year in October. I fondly remember looking in tide pools for anemones and other creachers. I loved the beach in the autumn! But then again, there are some lovely lake memories from Canada and Colorado! It's all good as long as it's not too hot. (The picture is of Asilomar State Park.)

2. Year round beach living: Heaven...or the Other Place? Really don't like to be very, very hot or sunburned. So the beach in August is not my favorite. But I might be willing to reconsider if the commute wasn't too long. I do love the beach in the cold months though.

3. Any beach plans for this summer? I'd really love to take the Chick to the Jersey Shore a few times this summer.

4. Best beach memory ever? See number one above. Also, Corpus Christi on a weekend break from CPE, Cocoa Beach with my extended family, Nice with waiters bringing Mademoiselle a gin and tonic, Delawanna in Canada with my family... too many to choose.

5. Fantasy beach trip? Open the door and there it is! That would be the fantasy. No long drives. No flies. No dead fish like you sometimes get at Lake Michigan. Not too hot. And right outside the door. Oh! And maybe the French waiter stops by every so often.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Bad, Bad Blogger

I have been a bad, bad blogger. Haven't written. Haven't read. It's sad and it's computer related. First the desk top pc did some funky smoky thing. We've turned it off permanently. This means the Chick became attached to my laptop. While I was gone on a business trip, something bad happened to the hinge on my pretty little laptop. Soda Chicky says she doesn't know how it happened. I have not fumed or cried, but it does mean that the laptop is now functioning more like a desktop computer. It's sitting quietly upstairs until I take it to have it's hinge fixed. We still have my old laptop which is very persnickety about going online. It thinks. It ponders. It whirrs and then after about twenty minutes you can get online. But will you stay online? This is the question and the frustration.

Since last blogging, I have been to Chicago and spent time with Baby Sister and Adventure Girl. (This is a three year old picture of me and AG at the Shore.) Other things have also happened.
  • The boss of my boss came to visit for 36 hours. It went well but it was a little nervous making.
  • The big boss took us to a swanky restaurant. Very good.
  • Bug Man continues to recover from his surgery. Workers' Comp is saying this surgery is not related to his injury from two years ago. The doctor says "Oh, yes it is!" Now the lawyers get to fight it out. We hope they give us some money soon. Sigh...
  • Baby Sister insisted I get a Facebook account. Did you know you can play Scrabulous all day long? Every hour or so you check on it... Can be distracting....
  • The Chick's friends sometimes send me notes on Facebook. It's a very interesting thing.
  • Mountain Mama and Papa Joe arrive today to celebrate the Chick's Confirmation on Sunday. How did she get so old? When was the last time I dusted? Why can't the Bug Man run the vacuum one handed?
  • I saw JVZ on Saturday. I got lost on my way to the cute little university town north of here. She patiently waited and gave me directions via cell phone. I think I broke the law talking on my cell phone in the little state next to ours. I don't care. I blame their passive aggressive turnpike for my getting lost to begin with!
  • The MIL arrives on Friday. The Chick still needs to clean her room some more before then. Should be fun. Hah!

That's all for now. Dorothy graduates on Sunday. Yeah for her!! She is so smart and clever and now she will be the "Master" of all she surveys.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Looking for some homework help!

Dorothy is completing a paper related to the internet and prayer communities. She could use a little more input from folks. If you are so inclined, please answer these questions in the comments and I will forward them on.


  1. How long of you been blogging?
  2. What do you mainly blog about?
  3. Are you a church leader?
  4. If so, what is your position?
  5. Do you use your blog for ministry? If so, how?
  6. Do you use prayer in your blog? If so, how?
  7. Are you a member of an online prayer community?
  8. How do you feel this impacts your prayer life? Your faith? Your ministry?
  9. Why is prayer important to you, particularly over the internet?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday Five: For just 24 hours...

It's my week to post the RevGalBlogPals Friday Five. So here it is...

Yesterday I had the 24 hour flu. I had been told by the people who had it first that it really was a twenty-four hour bug. And so while I dealt with all the blech of the flu, I kept reminding myself that morning would come and I would feel a lot better.

This is certainly a strange way to start out a Friday Five but it made me think about what I might like to do if I knew it would only last for 24 hours. There are no reality boundaries to these imaginings. So here are the five things for you to consider...
  1. If you could dramatically change your physical appearance for 24 hours, what would you do? I think I would like to be another color. Not sure which one. I'd just like to know what it would be like to be a different race for the day.
  2. If you could live in another place for 24 hours where would you go? Paris! I love Paris in the Springtime....
  3. You get to do somebody else's job for a day... I want to be the pope and straighten some things out. REALLY FAST!
  4. Spend the day with another person from anywhere in time and space... Right now I think I'd pick my paternal grandfather. I have some questions and I think it would be a very fun and memorable day. He'd have to buy me some M&Ms though.
  5. A magical power is yours. Which one would you pick? My first choice was flying which seems strange since I am afraid of falling. But given the fact that my hubby is recovering from wrist surgery and I am still feeling a little woozy from the flu, I think I might pick miracle healing.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Am I really that old?

Tonight the Chick told me that I was old enough to be the mother of one of her favorite tv people. We're watching "One Tree Hill" and Nathan aka James Lafferty is 22. So at 47 I am old enough to be his mother. Sigh...

The character has been married for six years and has a five year old son. The Chick did the math... "Grandma! Grandma!" Giggling of teenager....

I don't feel old enough to be a grandmother. I don't feel old at all. I can't do a cartwheel, but I couldn't do one when I was a kid either. So what makes us feel old? What makes us feel like we have to act our age? Or act the age that we feel? When I'm not looking in the mirror, I feel some mystical, magical age that can dance like a banshee, stay up too late, skip through the park and laugh, laugh, laugh.

I'm not sure what the point of this all is... Just want to say, I'm not that old. Not really. Not in my soul.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Nine Dollars a Pack

This is it, people! I promised the Chick that when I got home from this trip, I would be a smoke free mother. While in the Windy City I bought my last pack at the hotel. It cost me nine dollars. The math says 45 cents a smoke. Yikes!

I have been away from blogging this week due to travels and having the cruddy laptop with me. Plus I forgot the wireless card at home. At least I think it's at home. While being gone a few interesting things (or at least interesting to me) happened.
  • Spent some time with Adventure Girl. We went to the Tom Skillings' Tornado Seminar. I now know far more than I ever thought I would know about tornados. At some points, the speakers started to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher....
  • Went to a couple of great restaurants: Carnivale for Peruvian food and Tuscany on Taylor. Both great places. Had yucca... still don't like it, but the paco paco and the sangria were great. Had veal with a white wine sauce, squares of gorgonzola and asparagus. Yummy!
  • Spent time with Baby Sister and her gang of boys. Baby Sister convinced me to open a Facebook account. Not sure how dedicated I will be and Chatterbox said, "Mrs.. I am shocked you have a facebook!"
  • My major project for this trip went great!
  • I've slept in seven different beds in two weeks. Fell out of bed number six when the wake up call rang me awake. Have a carpet burn and a nasty bruise on my knee. Feel pretty goofy about it. My uber boss says it has happened to him when he has travelled. Felt goofy but better after that.
  • Going home tomorrow. Hope the BugMan remembers to fetch me.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Can't stay up ALL Night!

The gift of the BE is twenty new friends. And most of them are blogging and emailing and chatting to beat the band right now. It's fifteen minutes past my bedtime and I don't want to go to sleep because I am afraid I'll miss something. (We call it "Family Reunion Syndrome" at my house.)

I said this in another spot, but it can't be said too often. When you have online friends they are wonderful. I have prayed for these folks. I've tried to cheer them and cheer for them. I've laughed and cried and sighed with them. But now they are no longer two dimensional. As I told Will Smama, the package got fuller. As a result, the things they have written over the last few days have been much deeper. Much truer. And I can feel the blogged hugs because I know what the real hugs feel like.

I can hear their laughs and their lovely voices. Such a blessing I had not imagined when I made my deposit six months ago.
But now I really should go to bed. Tomorrow is another day of work. And I do need to do some work. Although it will be hard not to check a few blogs in between the tasks of the day!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Bloggers are decent people at bottom

So on NPR today, this was the quote from some guy who apparently gets negative feedback from bloggers, "...even bloggers are decent people at bottom." The guy's a political commentator and clearly he doesn't know the RevGalBlogPals. Beyond decent! Just fabulous people!

I had a great time on the BE aka The Big Event with my RevGalBlogPals. Didn't even need to leave the dock in New Orleans. We could have just sat on the aft deck and I would have been happy. The scenery was just icing on the delicious cake!

Since getting back, lots of folks have wanted reports on what the BE was all about. It was about JOY! Pure joy. I am so glad I got out of my midwestern, Norwegian, mildly introverted box and went on this trip. All the extra supply preaching to pay the way was well worth it!

Some highlights were definitely...

  • Charbroiled oysters at the oyster bar with GracebytheSea. Also enjoyed the raw oysters and the melt in your mouth oysters in my not to be believed gumbo at Emeril's. A food previously described as slimey or boiled erasers now has a very joyful spot in my heart.

  • A Joy Tattoo! We were all given a word to meditate on during the trip. Mine was joy. Couldn't get a spray paint tattoo of joy- so I took the one shown above- energy. The joy of the trip has given me energy. Hope my boss appreciates my new artwork on Sunday. Hee hee hee! If it washes off before then, I may color it in with a sharpy marker! Several us went under the paintgun. Mine is the one on the wrist. Will Smama's is the real one!

  • Three martinis and twelve olives! This was my quote for the night before we went home. I slept real well and I remember, Cheeshead, I remember! What a lovely, lovely night!

  • The back of the boat. We sat on the aft deck in the afternoon alternately amusing and scaring off other cruisers. It was a blessed place and very close to the soft serve ice cream.

  • Learning about geocaching. The Vicar of Hogsmeade is a geocacher. It's like a scavenger hunt with a GPS. She took a group out on Cozumel and they FOUND it! I'm thinking we all need to hide geocaches on our church signs.

  • Mexican food in Mexico. Fabulous food with Songbird, RevDrKate and our own English rose. Still can't believe she came all the way from England! What a treat!

  • Laughing. Crying. Listening. Talking. Reading. It was all good!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

We're almost outta here!

In an hour and a half, the Bug Man will come home from his bug job to take me to the airport. I am LEAVING for vacation with the RevGals on the Big Event cruise. I have tried to get all my work done before I left. I have prepaid bills so that the Bug Man has no worries. I have confirmed the Chick's doctor's appointment for Friday. And I think I am all packed.

As I have been getting ready to leave, I have found less time to even consider blogging. But here are a few of the things that have been true of my life:
  • I was unable for many weeks to remember what part of Mexico we were docking at for our daylong excursion. I really didn't care. I just want to eat some Mexican food and they have that everywhere in Mexico. I can now say with confidence that we are docking in Cozumel.
  • I have had insomnia. This even happened last night when I crashed at about 1:30am. All of my usual tricks have been only moderately successful. I want to take a nap on my vacation.
  • I am really not worried about leaving my staff for a week. They are way too competent for me to worry. I love this!
  • We had a lovely Easter meal with Dorothy and her hubby. Ham and asparagus and cheesy potatoes and a fabulous rendition of a "poke cake" that Dorothy made with strawberries and fresh whipped cream. Think strawberry shortcake and then kick it up a notch!
  • I wonder if I can take a ham sandwich on the plane. Probably not. We have a lot of leftove ham.
  • I have a major project at work that is 90% done. It is due a few days after we get home. It involves writing and powerpointing. My eyes got bleary and I decided to stop at 4:00 yesterday. It will just have to wait.
  • My folks are almost home after spending Holy Week at Spring Training in Arizona. They continue to make retirement look like a really fun deal! I hope to try it when I'm their age.

Well, that's all I can think to say for now. I am not taking my laptop on the ship. It's heavier than it looks and I also think I need a little "radio silence" in my life. I'm going to give every effort not to go to the computer lounge to check my email. Or at least not more than once a day....

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The V Crowd

I was over at Dorothy's blog and saw this photo of our "Vagina Monologues" cast. Just had to add it to the blog. What a wonderful group of women to play with! I'm in the very back in the middle.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday Five

When I was a little girl I really didn't get why we called today "good". It didn't make sense. I wondered if the adults had made a mistake. This was the day when Jesus died on the cross. How could that be good. Fortunately, I caught on after a while. This is a good day. A day when we try to understand the heighth and depth and breadth of God's love for us.

On the RevGalBlogPals I posted these questions today:
  1. Our prayer concerns are as varied as we are this day. For whom would you like us to pray? Please pray for Jim and his family.

  2. Are there things you have done or will do today to help the young ones understand this important day in our lives? It was important to me as a parent that the Chick understand from an early age that Jesus really did die. I didn't want her to misunderstand and think that he was just resting. We didn't do anything special, beyond bringing her to worship and talking it through. But she knew fairly early on what happened on Good Friday.

  3. Music plays an important part in sharing the story of this day. Is there a hymn or piece of music that you have found particularly meaningful to your celebrations of Good Friday? "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" touches something deep within me.

  4. As you hear the passion narrative, is there a character that you particularly resonate with? I think it must be Peter in his desires to get it right and his failures even though he loves Jesus deeply.

  5. Where have you seen the gracious God of love at work lately? In the children I spent the last five Sunday's with. They so got what was going on in worship. And they are ready to share the good news.

God's blessings on your Good Friday.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

From Palms to Passion

This is a transitional piece I will use at the end of our mostly Palm Sunday service tomorrow.

Today is a curious sort of day. A day which began with an exciting parade and children singing praises to the Lord. It's a day of wonder as we remember that Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph with all the pomp and circumstance of a beloved king.

And it is tempting to just stay at the Palm glory and give little thought to what will happen next. For Thursday brings a last meal with treasured friends. And a new covenant of love and forgiveness. But it also brings betrayal and denial.

And then it's Friday. A day of accusation and fear. A day of wrenching torment and brutal death. All too quickly the shouts of "Hosanna!" will give way to the call to "Crucify him! Crucify him!"
As you make your way through this holiest of weeks I would invite you to follow the way of the cross. Let yourself be caught up in this most wonderful of all stories. Hear the words as if it was the first time. For there is always more to discover on this holy journey.
Let yourself be transformed by the passionate love of Christ.
Our postlude for this morning is based on the hymn "O Sacred Head Now Wounded." And I encourage you not to leave with the dismissal today. But instead, stay and listen to the postlude. Take a moment for meditation and prayer. And consider all that our Lord has done for us. For he chose the path which led to pain before joy- the cross before glory. May the cross be planted in our hearts this day, so that in its power and love we may come at last to joy and glory.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Bug Man's Wrist Hurts

For the last 18 months, the Bug Man has been complaining that his wrist hurts. Now don't get me wrong. I try to be a sympathetic wife, but when someone complains about something every other day, you get numb.

He broke his wrist in July 2005 while trying to get rid of some wasps. (It's his job, don't you know.) The wasps weren't mad or anything. It was the ladder that was not cooperating and the Man fell off and landed all wrong. He put the ladder back on the truck, said goodbye to his client, and drove himself to the hospital. This was no small feat what with the truck having a manual transmission. The doctor reset the wrist and he was in a cast for six weeks. Six long weeks. The only thing that kept us all from killing each other was a subscription to The Bug Man watched a lot of Cardinals games on the computer to the frustration of Soda Chicky who couldn't use the computer as much as she might like.

After feeling sore and achey for over a year, the Man went back to the doctor. After doing an MRI and seeing a specialist, it has been determined that he has a torn ligament and the bones did not heal correctly. The ligament may well have been torn the entire time. This only shows up on an MRI which they didn't do at the time. So at the end of April he will have surgery.
They'll repair the ligament and put a plate and a screw in as well. If they need to, they will take bone chips from his hip to fill in the gaps. This is all out-patient surgery.

I asked my mother-in-law if she wanted to come take care of him. She said, and I quote, "Hell, no." This is very strong language from the MIL and indicates what a delightful patient her son is.

I am thankful that we will be into baseball season come the end of April. I am thankful that we know that some of this pain will be ended. I am not thankful that the Bug Man will be miserable for some time to come. And I am praying for patience for the Chick and I! Sigh....

Friday Five... How Time Flies By!

At the RevGalBlogPals, Mother Laura writes:

Our Lent is almost over, while our Orthodox sisters and brothers, whose liturgical year follows the older Julian calendar, are just starting theirs. Nicholas did a recent book report on George Washington, and we were surprised to find out that our first President's birthday was originally Feb. 11, since he was born just before the change to the Gregorian calendar. Apparently the change almost caused rioting, as some indignant people were sure that they were being cheated out of eleven days of their lives! To help you adjust--and enjoy the process--here's a Friday Five about time and transitions....
  1. If you could travel to any historical time period, which would it be, and why? I would like to go to a time with indoor plumbing.... I think it would be interesting to wander around in the 1920's. Can't remember all the plumbing details, but there was so much happening before the crash.
  2. What futuristic/science fiction development would you most like to see? Beam me up, Scottie!
  3. Which do you enjoy more: remembering the past, or dreaming for the future? I love to hear stories. "Mom tell us a story about when you were little?" was always my request on long car trips.
  4. What do you find most memorable about this year's Lent? I've preached for four weeks in a row. Haven't done that in years! It's rare that a person doing supply gets to fill in for five weeks in a row at the same church. It will be a little bittersweet to say goodbye this coming Sunday.
  5. How will you spend your time during this upcoming Holy Week? What part do you look forward to most? Since I don't serve a traditional parish, my week will not look like most pastors. I have a new employee that I'm training. I have a shorter work week. I'm the "go to girl" when someone doesn't show up to read, lead or acolyte at church this week. I am looking forward to worshipping in my home congregation. I haven't worshipped there in almost two months. It will be nice to be home.

Friday, March 07, 2008

More About the Vagina Monologues

When Eve Ensler was developing "The Vagina Monologues" she started with hundreds of "Vagina Interviews". Women were asked a series of questions and the monologues came out of these varied and fascinating interviews. I have been thinking about the questions this past few weeks and decided I would dare to post my own answers.
  • If your vagina got dressed what would it wear? A white cotton batiste nightgown, soft from several washings. It would be long and tailored like a man's shirt.

  • If it could speak, what would it say? Whatever it wanted to say. Whenever it wanted to say it. Without fear. It's always been gutsier than I am.

  • What does your vagina remind you of? "The Dinner Party" by Judy Chicago. The Emily Dickinson setting especially. It reminds me of the vagina and the vagina reminds me of it.

  • What's special about your vagina? It's mine. They're all special. They're defining.

  • What does it smell like? An October walk on the beach in Monterey.
If this prompts you to write your own thoughts, wonderful! If this is too much information, relax!

And Dorothy, we're not in Kansas anymore.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Friday Five: Signs of Hope, Signs of Spring

Sally posted these hope filled questions for the RGBP Friday Five.
  1. Sign of hope? Tonight I was part of a group that performed "The Vagina Monologues." As we heard the challenge to end violence against women and girls in the next decade, I was filled with a sense of hope. Hope that perhaps this is possible. If not in whole, at least in part. I was delighted by this strong group of women who dared to speak such amazing words. And delighted by the response of the men and women who shared the evening with us.

  2. An unexpected word of light in a dark place? A friend noticed something in me this week and said so... It's too long and complicated to explain the whole thing, but being noticed for a certain gift affirmed it... affirmed me... and it was a light for my day that I will hold onto for days to come.

  3. A sign of spring? There are groovy little green things poking up from the ground in the churchyard. My favorites are on their way... tulips!

  4. Challenging/ surprising? Being invited to participate in the Vagina Monologues was a surprising challenge. (I got to moan a la Grace Slick at one point in the evening.) I never tried out for plays in school. My dramatic performances have been mostly the kind that pastors take on during VBS. That and first person sermons. It was a challenge to speak vagina vocabulary tonight. And a surprise that I like wandering out of my box. I need to do more of that.

  5. Share a hope for the coming week/month/year.... See number 4.

Bonus play... a piece of music/ poem guaranteed to cheer you? I have been listening to Cole Porter songs on my Ipod of late. Cheers me up every time.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Strange Days Indeed

Tonight the television was on and suddenly I looked up to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus do something strange with her lipstick. "The New Adventures of Old Christine" is not my favorite show, but I do so wish I could have saved the two opening minutes of the show. The reason is this....

.... Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in the delightful shade of "Nutmeg." Last night the Bug Man walked into the bedroom looking like a bad Lucille Ball impressionist. He had picked up the Chick's Lip Shimmer and used it like regular chapstick. It is NOT regular chapstick. He did know how goofy he looked before strolling into our room, but he wanted to "share".

Tonight, "Old Christine" was moaning about her recent boyfriend break up and did the exact same thing. I paused the TiVo and waited until the Bug Man came back into the room. Too strange to be believed.

The really hard to believe part is that the Man couldn't tell the difference between chapstick and lip shimmer. Here's hoping he doesn't throw the nutmeg colored stuff in a coat pocket before heading off to work some day!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

All About Soda Chicky

The Chick made a point this evening of sitting next to me and requesting/ordering that I pull up my blog. She wanted to see what I had written about her lately. She was saddened to find that there was nothing about her recent illness on my blog. Not wanting to win any more points in the "Bad Mother Contest" I will now tell you the painful story of the Chick's health of late.

For nearly four weeks, the Chick has struggled with stomach aches and nausea. On Trip #1 to the doctor it was decided that she had a virus. She was given an anti-emetic prescription and we went home. The little pills helped her not throw up but it really "bound her up" as my father would say. A week later she was still feeling rather punk. Trip #2 to the doctor was for her "well baby" check up. (What do you call it when the baby is 14?) We caught her on a good day except that she went into total meltdown when it came time to get her HPV vaccine and a flu shot.

Visit #3 found me suggesting that perhaps she had inherited all of her parent's collective bad genes. The doctor found some merit in all of this and ordered an xray of the Chick's abdomen. Sure enough, she was full of crap! (This is the less technical explanation.) She is now taking the new wonder drug MiroLax. It seems to be doing the trick along with regular doses of Pepcid.

While we were trying to figure out what was really ailing her, I found myself feeling really useless. I'd done what everyone was suggesting. I'd taken her to the doctor. I'd gotten the prescribed meds, but the kid still felt horrid. I told her one afternoon that I felt like I had been given a really great toy that I had somehow misused and now I couldn't figure out how to fix it. Rather than making her feel objectified, it helped her know that I really was concerned and I really did want her to feel better. (When I forced her to go to school on more than one occasion, she wasn't too sure about me. I got lots of votes for "Bad Mother" on those occasions.)

So the Chicky is feeling much better. She had a Snow Day yesterday which also helped her mood immeasurably. The good news is that she was bored today. Always a good sign that one needs to get out of the house!

Between bouts of feeling truly yucky, the Chick and her friends Barnum and Lovely Girl redecorated the Chick's room. They moved the furniture around. Lovely Girl made some style suggestions. Barnum came along for a trip to Linens n' Things and the place is almost the room of their imaginings. I need to do some minor sewing and a little craftiness and the place will be put together.

So Chicky... I hope this meets your expectations. Not too embarrassing. Not too personal. And yes, Lovely Girl finally has her own blogging secret identity.

Love, Mom

Friday, February 22, 2008

Prayers for Rusty

A very dear friend of my parents died last night. Her name was Alta. The day after she retired from her job in November, they found that she was seriously ill. Almost three months to the day, she died in hospice care. My heart aches tonight for those who love her.

At Christmas time we visited my folks. My mother asked me to make a prayer shawl for Alta. I was honored to be asked and we quickly went to the Ben Franklin store to pick up the supplies. For two days I prayed and crocheted while football games, BBC reruns and other goofiness went by on the television. I prayed for Alta and her husband Rusty. I prayed for my parents whose lives have been so warmly touched by these dear friends. I prayed for their small mountain congregation and their priest who serves them.

After we left, Mom and Dad delivered the shawl to Alta at the hospital. She was due to have her second major surgery in a month. In the movement from room to room, the shawl was misplaced. But last weekend, Rusty found it packed in with some things. He tried to give it back to my mother. But she said no, it was his and it was packed with prayers for him to hold onto.

I sit tonight hundreds and hundreds of miles away from my parents, wishing I could do something to help them in their grief. I can't fix a meal or stay up late for a long chat. I can't help with practical matters. I can't do much of anything. But I will keep praying. And my mother has reminded me again, what a precious gift that can be. And so Mom and Dad, please know I am praying for Rusty and his family and for the two of you. Praying for comfort and love and strength.

A Heavenly Friday Five

On the RevGalBlogPals, Singing Owl posted the Friday Five as a memorial of sorts to her dear sister who died this week of Alzheimer's. Singing Owl asked what is your idea of a heavenly (i.e. wonderful and perfect):

  1. Family get-together: Some place where the grown ups could talk and relax while all the kids were having fun. The beach sounds good. Or a lake some place where it was not too warm and not cold.

  2. Song or musical piece: Hmmm.... nothing immediately comes to mind. I like a lot of different kinds of music. A thrilling Bach postlude. A totally cool Marty Haugen hymn with guitars, piano, claves and flute. Little kids singing a sweet Sunday School tune.

  3. Gift: Time with a dear friend for a good meal and good conversation. Time would be the gift.

  4. You choose whatever you like-food, pair of shoes, vacation, house, or something else. Just tell us what it is and what a heavenly version of it would be. Tonight we watched Gordon Ramsay trying to turn around an Indian restaurant. It made me remember a stellar meal I had last Fall in Minneapolis. The restaurant was delicious to smell! The food was authentic and marvelous. The company great. The service good. I want to go back!

  5. And for a serious moment, or what would you like your entrance into the next life to be like? Not too difficult for those who love me and all that Christ promises. What, from your vantage point now, would make Heaven "heavenly?" .When asked if there would be sex in heaven, C.S. Lewis once said that no, there wouldn't be sex in Heaven. But we wouldn't miss it because Heaven would be too wonderful for us to regret the loss of this important human connection. So I guess I think heaven must be beyond my imagination. And when I try to imagine it, I find that there are always faults with my notions. I am trusting that God has it well taken care of. And that is the most heavenly bit of all.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Playing Tag

I've been tagged by The Quixotic Pastor.

The rules for the meme are:
  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog.
  3. Share six non important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
  4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
  5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

So here are the six non important things/habits/quirks:

  1. I'm afraid of heights and as a result I have a standard way to get on downward bound escalator that is so engrained I didn't know I was doing it until Adventure Girl pointed it out one day.
  2. I like cheerios dry, straight out of the box. I have stolen/borrowed/shared cheerios from Pseudo Grandbaby's diaper bag on more than one occasion.
  3. I can't get to sleep at night if my feet are cold. So I wear socks but once my feet are warm the socks have to go. Sometimes at the end of the week, when we change the sheets there are three pairs of socks buried at the end of the bed.
  4. I really like cottage cheese mixed with green salsa. It's a disgusting looking but tasty dip. Nobody else in my family likes it. That's okay! More for me!
  5. It kind of bugs me that Barak Obama is younger than I am.
  6. I have ignored hair balls on the floor knowing that the Bug Man will find them in a few minutes and clean them up. I am a bad, bad wife......

Whether they like it or not, I am tagging Cheesehead, the Lutheran Zephyr, Pink Shoes, Soda Chicky, Papa Joe and Hot Cup Lutheran.

Friday Five: The Water and The Word

In this Sunday's gospel Nicodemus asks Jesus, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Poor old Nicodemus! He was so confused about the whole "water and Spirit" business of baptism. Maybe he was just tired, all that wandering around looking for Jesus in the middle of the night!

For today's five, I asked everyone to tell us about their baptismal experiences.
  1. When and where were you baptized? Do you remember it? Know any interesting tidbits? I was baptized as a baby on January 1, 1961 in the church my parents belonged to before my dad was drafted into the army. They came home over the holidays and had me baptized. My sisters and I were all baptized at St. John Lutheran Church- but they are three different churches. This has made it more difficult for my mother to be sure whose momentos are whose.

  2. What's the most unexpected thing you've ever witnessed at a baptism? While baptizing my nephew, he spit up. I've done a lot of baptisms but that had never happened before. Not wanting to create a fuss and wanting him to put "his best face forward" I took the baptismal napkin which was damp from drying his head and made a quick swipe across his face. I have wondered if my sister washed the napkin later or if that's just a part of his baptismal memento.

  3. Does your congregation have any special traditions surrounding baptisms? The church we belong to currently has a lovely font up in the front of the chancel. When there is a baptism, a gentleman in the parish creates a wreath of greens and flowers that fits around the top of the font. It's really quite sweet.

  4. Are you a godparent or baptismal sponsor? Have a story to tell? I am the godmother of Little Sister #2's daughter. She was very good at her baptism, but I cried more than I might have. The service was at the Easter Vigil during my second year at sem. I was having a real crisis of faith and the baptismal service really put me in touch with my fears and questions.

  5. Do you have a favorite baptismal song or hymn? Why do I ask questions that I don't know the answers to! I really like "O Blessed Spring" by Susan Cherwien and Bob Farlee.

O blessed spring, where Word and sign
embrace us into Christ the Vine:
here Christ enjoins each one to be
a branch of this life-giving Tree.

Through summer heat of youthful years,
uncertain faith, rebellious tears,
sustained by Christ’s infusing rain,
the boughs will shout for joy again.

When autumn cools and youth is cold,
when limbs their heavy harvest hold,
then through us, warm, the Christ will move
with gifts of beauty, wisdom, love.

As winter comes, as winters must,
we breathe our last, return to dust;
still held in Christ, our souls take wing
and trust the promise of the spring.

Christ, holy Vine, Christ, living Tree,
be praised for this blest mystery:
that Word and water thus revive
and join us to your Tree of Life.

Text: Susan Palo Cherwien, b. 1953
©1993 Susan Palo Cherwien, admin. Augsburg Fortress

Duplication in any form prohibited without permission or valid license from copyright administrator.

Friday, February 08, 2008

I wasn't really all that hungry!

Last Friday, Sweet Girl, Scarecrow, the Bug Man and I were scheduled to go out for dinner. It took us several weeks of negotiation before we found a time when Sweet Girl didn't have internship stuff happening; Scarecrow didn't have youth group stuff happening; Bug Man didn't have to get up early to kill bugs; and as for me.... my schedule was pretty open.

Scarecrow is a foodie! There is no other way to explain it. He loves to cook. He loves excellent food and he refuses to pay good money for a meal he could have made at home. For more than a week he googled, contemplated and debated the best place for us to have dinner. Then we needed to figure out what to do with the kids. Should Soda Chicky watch Pseudo Grandbaby? Could we find another sitter for PGB? Should we find a place where the Chicky and PGB would be welcome?

Last Friday the Scarecrow changed the restaurant four times. He called me several times and silly me! I only remembered the converation up to restaurant number three. At 6:15, the Bug Man and I were 45 minutes early for our reservation. We sat in the car listening to the radio until we thought that might be bad for the car. Boy were we right! The car ceased to start. Only made a "click click click" noise. We decided to go in the restaurant in the hopes that absence would lead the car into a cheerier state of being.

We gave the hostess Scarecrow's name and she seemed to think that there was a misprint in her list. Like many Philly dining spots, this was a BYOB. So we drank half a bottle of wine and ate the tasty bread while watching people and the various plates of food go by. At 7:15 we began to be concerned for our friends. I didn't have my cell phone or their phone numbers. But we called Sweet Girl's dad (they were babysitting). The two were "on their way, must be caught in traffic." We waited ten more minutes until our server explained that we didn't have a reservation and that they needed our table. Sigh....

Three phone calls later we knew that I had forgotten we were going to restaurant number four, not number three. Sweet Girl and the Scarecrow were miles away drinking their own bottle of wine. Our car still wouldn't start and the Bug Man was starting to do "the potty dance" on the sidewalk next to our car.

Thankfully, Sweet Girl's dad was only fifteen minutes away and came to our rescue. He had jumper cables so we got the car started. We drove towards home only stopping at the WaWa to get sandwiches and so Bug Man could use the bathroom. (We took turns sitting in the car with the engine running.)

Needless to say, I have been teased quite a bit about all of this. I had a roast beef sandwich for dinner. Bug Man had pastrami. Scarecrow had oysters on the half shell and duckling. Sweet Girl said the Snapper Soup was delicious. We hope to go out sometime before PGB enters kindergarten.

Friday Five - Lenten Reflections

This week on the Rev Gals it's questions about Lent.
  1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras and/or Ash Wednesday this week? How? Shrove Tuesday I made pancakes for Soda Chicky. It's a bit of a tradition. On Ash Wednesday I went to chapel with Scarecrow, Dorothy, the Tin Man and Pseudo Baby.

  2. What was your most memorable Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday/Lent? At a former parish we celebrated by having "The Mad Monks of Melody" play for a Mardi Gras dinner and worship. They're a Dixieland jazz band which is made up of musicians who met as Barbershoppers. A fun time was had by all. Nothing like marching around the sanctuary to "When the Saints Go Marching In".

  3. Did you/your church/your family celebrate Lent as a child? If not, when and how did you discover it? Lent was always a part of our family. We went to church on Wednesday nights. Often there were special family devotions. No giving up of things. Not a Lutheran thing really.

  4. Are you more in the give-up camp, or the take-on camp, or somewhere in between? As a kid, giving-up was "a Catholic thing." As an adult and pastor, I feel that giving things up only makes sense if the abstinence leads you to think about God. If it's just something to be unhappy and grouchy about- forget it.

  5. How do you plan to keep Lent this year? Midweek worship at night or mid-day. Reading and having a four week preaching gig.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Not my kind of brownie pan!

For a mere $34 you can buy this pan so that all your brownies have edges. BUT I LIKE THE ONES IN THE MIDDLE! This was posted in an AOL piece on strange cooking gadgets. There was also a thing that is meant for cutting hotdogs so that they look like octopi. Sheesh! You can do that with a knife. But don't! I think it may actually make the dogs taste worse. At least that was my experience at "Under the Sea" nights at our kids' midweek program. Usually served with blue jello jigglers that had Swedish fish "swimming" around.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The 47 year old acolyte

One of the strange things about being clergy and not on the staff of the church where you worship is that you are a good emergency fill in. I've filled in at the last minute as the reader and the assisting minister, but today was a first. I was the acolyte.

I've trained dozens of acolytes but this was the first time I had performed the job and this church. Since it was all very last minute I got one of the worst fitting robes to wear. I forgot to light the Paschal Candle because I didn't know there was a baptism. I wasn't sure when to take the offering plates to the ushers. And my hubby critiqued the way I carried the processional cross.

The woman who trains and schedules the acolytes frequently fills in when the acolyte doesn't show. There were lots of acolytes at worship but they were all singing in the youth choir this morning. The last time Soda Chicky filled in to acolyte on the spot, the boss of the acolytes gave her the business. "What are you doing? You're not supposed to be doing this. You haven't been trained. You did it wrong."

This in front of witnesses. Soda Chicky was doing the pastors a favor. She'd been trained by her mother in her last parish. There hasn't been an acolyte training meeting for the last two years. AND she was talked to after she had lit the candles but before the service had even begun. As you may guess, I was glad that this woman was not at church today. I'm sure she would have given me the business!

All of this brings to mind that although there may be a "correct" or preferred ways to perform these tasks, what is important is that the tasks are performed with a sense of worship and devotion. Does it really matter which candle gets lit first? Does it really matter if the acolyte is wearing tennis shoes? Will God be offended if we don't always remember to reverence the altar at the prescribed times? I think not.