Sunday, October 7, 2007

Morning Avoidance

I am not a morning person. Never have been, never will be. I take after my grandfather. I remember vacations to Wisconsin as a child, staying up late watching Johnny Carson with grandpa. My grandmother had long since turned her back on the waking world. She'd be up before dawn. He'd stay awake until 3:00 or 4:00, reading in bed until finally drifting away. He'd be up around noon the next day. No wonder they had separate bedrooms.

I hated school, having to get up hours before dawn, just to be ready on the bus stop by 7:00. College and seminary were fine when I could choose classes after 10:00 a.m. The occasional 8:00 was a killer. Summer vacations were delightful. Staying up late watching movies, devouring books, composing my stories and my songs, wandering outside to gaze at the starts. Something about the night was magical to me. Quiet, distant. I could be alone with my thoughts.

Of course, waking up before dawn, I have found that it is still dark. Imagine that. But somehow it's not the same. Watching the sunrise at the end of your day has a different feel than squinting at it through hazy morning eyes. Mystical, powerful, sublime.

So my vocation as a pastor, having the luxury of designing my own schedule - ah, freedom. With the exception of the occasion breakfast meeting and exiting my sheets on Sunday mornings at 4:30 to finish my sermon, I can blissfully sleep in most days. And for this self-proclaimed night owl, it is a blessing indeed.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Blah, blah, blah

That says it all, I think. Blah.

I've been rather in a bit of a rut lately. Can't seem to find motivation to do much of anything creative. I just seem to be going through the motions. Getting things done, following the typical routine. But no extra energy to think beyond the blahs.

I'm hiding it well. (At least until I post this.) No one seems to notice that I am not quite "all there." I can put up a good facade. Smile and nod at all the correct times. Do what needs to be done, and in a timely fashion. Yet something is indeed lacking.

Passion. The passion is missing. Oh, it's there somewhere. I don't think I could ever really lose it. But it seems to be buried deep under a pile of blahs.

I've been feeling this way for a while now. Just couldn't quite put on finger on what was amiss. Since I have finally confronted it, perhaps I am on the path to renewal. I sure hope so. This blah-ness has got to go.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Study Leave


My study leave was a last minute excursion. My brother wanted to take a trip to Wisconsin with his younger son. Finances are tight for him, so he needed me to help with the travel expenses and get the electricity turned on at Mom's lakeside cabins. I didn't want to take vacation time to cover this, so I thought to myself, "Self, you haven't taken any study leave in two years." Armed with a double stack of books and an old laptop computer (that was never plugged in), we headed for the north woods.
I had not been up in 14 years. The last time to visit was with my ex on our honeymoon. Facing those skeletons was a bit harder than expected. His face haunted my dreams, and I awoke often, startled, but to the happy realization that he wasn't really there. It was because of these frequent awakenings that I was able to catch this incredible sunrise. Within a few days, the demons were exorcised.
I still can't believe the amount of reading and planning I was able to accomplish. My nephew kept asking, "how much more do you have to read?" He couldn't comprehend that I was actually working...that I got paid to go out into the woods and read all day. It's still rather difficult for me to believe, also. One of the perks of ministry.
I saw a fellow pastor yesterday. She's about to go on study leave. We both felt guilty for "not working at the church." But then we reminded each other of all the holidays we have to work while others get to play. Four day weekends? What are those? Christmas, Easter -- work days for us. So I guess a couple weeks of study leave/continuing ed should be enjoyed without guilt.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Okay, now I know I'm wasting time....

But I couldn't help it. Just had to see how it'd come out. I'm rather surprised.

You scored as Buffy Summers, You are

a very strong individual. You do, however,

have some trouble admitting how you truly feel.

You've experienced a lot during your life, but you

more than manage. Always willing to help,

you're a great friend.

Buffy Summers

79%

Rupert Giles

54%

Spike

50%

Willow Rosenberg

50%

Tara Maclay

46%

Dawn Summers

42%

Anya

33%

Xander Harris

29%

Which Buffy The Vampire Slayer Character Are You Most Like!?
created with QuizFarm.com

Alter Ego -- really no surprise

You scored as Hermione Granger, You're one

intelligent witch, but you have a hard time

believing it and require constant reassurance.

You are a very supportive friend who would

do anything and everything to help her friends out.

Hermione Granger

90%

Severus Snape

75%

Remus Lupin

75%

Albus Dumbledore

75%

Ron Weasley

60%

Sirius Black

55%

Harry Potter

55%

Ginny Weasley

55%

Draco Malfoy

50%

Lord Voldemort

5%

Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with QuizFarm.com

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lament for the End


I finished Book Seven on Monday afternoon at about 3:00 p.m. I had taken the day off to recoup from my mission trip. (Nothing to do with wanting to read the book or anything like that ) A bittersweet ending. I loved the book, but I loathe that the series is now over.


I have always been one to relish the anticipation of a thing more than the thing itself. I am not sure why that is. Even as a child, at birthdays and Christmas, I never ripped into my presents. I preferred to take it slow, savoring each moment of wonder as I carefully removed the paper from the treasure inside. And once all the packages were exposed, I experienced a let down that is difficult to describe. Something about the "not knowing." Something about the mystery of "what could be..." The reality never measured up.


And so with Harry, the saga is complete. The questions have been answered, the problems solved, the loose ends neatly tied up. The anticipation is relieved, yet I still long for something more.


I suppose it's a matter of preferring the journey over the destination. And so I wonder, what's next...

Quintanna Roo Mexico







Just returned from a week long mission trip to the Mayan Riviera in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Got to work with about 150 kids in their vacation Bible school in the village of Nichta Ha. It never ceases to amaze me how the people there can be so content with so little. They always thank us for what we bring to them - mostly things. But do they have any idea what they give to us? A heartfelt faith. An appreciation for the basics in life. A love of God that is pure and honest.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Year Two Milestone


Today is the second anniversary of my ordination. I haven't really had a chance to give it much thought, which is surprising for me, since I tend to be sentimental about things like this. But my mind has been consumed with other things


I am currently in the second week of my vacation, if you can call it that. I didn't go anywhere, which is a very good thing. Tyler, my nine year old male cat, had ear surgery right before the vacation began. He had some complications, and had to be hospitalized for a few days. His two litter mates (Mulder and Scully) have decided to shun him, though he can't seem to understand why.
While on vacation, I had planned to splurge on new office furniture, since I spend so much time working at home. It was a tad pricey, but at least it was on sale. Then the vet bills kept piling up (I also took my others in for their yearly exams/vaccinations). I lost track after the bills broke a grand.
Then my upstairs AC window unit decided to die, as did my DVD player. Now I simply cannot have a vacation without watching all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You can imagine the crisis. Well, then the kitchen faucet started leaking again (previously fixed last December). My dreams for new office furniture began to slip away.
But then I found an AC unit and a DVD player for about $100 each. The faucet was covered by warranty. Tragedy averted. So today I logged onto the Staples website and ordered my new office.
Happy Anniversary to me.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Made My Day

Okay....I swiped this from another blog, but I couldn't resist. You've got to see it to believe it. You'll be surprised.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Mountain Reflections


I recently traveled to Colorado for a conference entitled The Externally Focused Church. Having never been to Colorado, I journeyed out early with a friend and stayed in a cabin in the mountains.
Now when it comes to nature, I am a Grand Canyon snob. Nothing can compare with the immense beauty of that big ol' hole in the ground. But I must confess, the Rockies came darned close.
Living in the big flat city in the Midwest, I often forget the power that God's creation has over me. But the song of the rushing creek, the wind caressing the new leaves of the Aspens, the aroma of pine and clean air - they each reminded me of God's gracious love toward us. The earth could have been stilted and functional - providing the basic sustenance needed for our survival. Yet God chose to do so much more. Offering vistas beyond our dreams, splendor so stirring as to evoke pain. A longing for something more, something just out of reach. The merest glimpse of eternity. A foretaste of that which is to come.
Encounters awakening within me a yearning, a hunger for the divine. Emotions expressed best in non-words. Yet still I try to capture that which already is beginning to slip through my grasp. Tendrils of memory remain...
The conference was good, too.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Post Birthday Blues

It's been a few weeks since the traumatic day arrived, but for some reason I can't seem to shake the feeling. Of course many of my friends laugh it off, saying "You're still a baby...call us when you hit the half century mark." Okay, so maybe they are right, but for me, 39 is a big year. Not quite 40, but it might as well be. "How old are you," someone asks. And now I have to reply with the dreaded figure. "Oh sure," they grin. "39 and holding, right?" Wink, wink.

I asked another friend, who is a few years my junior, if we had hit middle age. I always thought it was much later in life, but apparently I have arrived. There is no crisis. Just a bit of unease, wondering how I ended up here. This life looks nothing like what I had anticipated some 20 years ago.

To make myself even more miserable, I flipped through my college photo albums and found pictures of my 19th birthday. Cute boyfriend (who turned out to be gay), best friend, long stem red roses, and a cake fight in the dorm room. Ah, what mixed emotions those memories evoke. I looked into my 20-year-ago face peering out at me from those photos, cake frosting dripping from my chin, and wanted to holler at her, "Get ready...you've got some ugly years ahead of you!!" I suppose it really wouldn't have made a difference. At that age, I had the world on a leash. Nothing could get in the way of my dreams.

No cake fight this year, though my mother bought me my favorite - white cake with whipped cream icing - from the neighborhood grocery. No party either. A few birthday cards still line my library shelves. I guess it's time to put them away.

It's just a number. I keep telling myself that. But somehow at some point the world broke free of my leash.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter ramblings

Somehow I survived another Holy Week. The Tenebrae Service on Thursday was highly moving, though only a small crowd turned out. But that made it possible to gather around the table for Communion...possibly one of the most meaningful communions services I've led in my short tenure as a pastor. What a privilege it is to preside at table.

Due to frigid temps, we held the sunrise service indoors this morning. Again, only a faithful handful showed up...probably because they figured Elder Larry would make us sit outside. But he must be getting soft in his advancing years, because indoors it was. He traditionally leads our sunrise service, and had a great message yet again. Hands outstretched on the cross leads to outstretched hands in loving embrace. Great hook.

While the women gathered for worship, the men gathered in the kitchen to prepare breakfast. Another great meal served up by the men. But I wish I could convince them that the service at sunrise is important, too. Traditions...can't mess with 'em.

The traditional service at 10:00 was full, or at least more bodies than usual. Lot's of family members. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is really hearing the message behind my feeble words. I think so. I hope so. Fortunately, Christ can work despite my shortcomings.

He is risen indeed.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Initial Musings of a Pastor Girl

So here I sit, having just created the skeleton of a blog and now I am expected to post something. The task is somewhat daunting, because I haven't the foggiest of what to say. I am sure that will change soon enough.

It is the afternoon of Palm Sunday, and I am worn out, having awakened at 4:00 a.m. thinking, "I have got to do something about that sermon." A few hours and many revisions later, worship went well. No one lost an eye with all the palm waving, and the sermon was well-received in my small town church in Central Indiana. The Week that we call Holy is upon us. Lots to do. But for now, maybe I'll go back and check on the Nascar race and catch a few more Z's.