Saturday, July 3

It's Saturday - it must be wait, Kigali

[I'm finally on a computer with working internet, so I am going to type and then upload pictures in the next post]

We were supposed to be at the national park today, but that got moved to Wednesday, so we are back in Kigali this morning, at the wonderful and beautiful Bloom Hotel. We were pleased to find working wireless internet and many are on computers and phones updated facebook and sending emails!

The past two days have been amazing. We were in Ramagana at the Lutheran School. We worked at the new school site doing construction type things (moving rock, filtering sand, painting, cleaning) and helping organize the book donations for the library (more on that later).

Thursday we arrive in Ramagana at around 9:00 am, and were met at the school gate by many smiling young people in green school t-shirts. We shook hands with, and met, everyone and then we went to a field and played a couple of games to break the ice (which took no time at all!). We then moved to the Kigali Lutheran Church (which now has a roof, but no walls), where we were greeted by Pastor Celestine, and were blessed to see (and participate) in traditional Rwandan dance. The troupe is made up of young people who are genocide survivors, some whose parents were participants in the killing and young people who returned from refugee camps after the genocide. We were told that their parents were not happy that these groups were mixing, but they persevered and the parents are now at least resigned to it.

Some of the Ramagana Lutheran School students sang for us as well, and women from the parish had beautiful baskets and jewelry for sale that many of us took advantage of! After lunch with the RLS students, we worked side by side with them for the afternoon.

Friday morning meant classes for RLS, and we returned to the work site to continue on the projects from the day before. In the afternoon we went to the place where RLS is renting space for offices and classes and heard the story of RLS from Robin Strickler, the principal of the school. It began as a dream in 2005, and this year they began classes. They are far under capacity, but they had no applications from students that could pay the fees. They do not want to depend entirely on donations for the support, so they need paying students as well as possibly a trade of some type to bring in income.

Then, we met the students at the end of their school day and we joined in song and dance and jumping and sharing of stories. The connection between these two groups is astounding and immediate. I was so blessed to be part of it and see the young people make connections with each other, and with adults from both groups as well. Our true hope is that this is a connection that is in its infancy and will continue to grow and blossom with new fruit in the coming years.

Lunch is in a moment, and then we go to a genocide memorial site at Nyamata. I hope to upload the pictures later today and spend some time reflecting on the genocide memorial in Kigali we visited earlier in the week, as well as Nyamata.

Saturday, February 6

bittersweet day

it's my birthday today...number 42. Happy Birthday to me...and I miss my Dad. He rarely contacted me on my birthday, forgot a couple of times, and once sent me a card in April with no acknowledgment that it was two months late. It used to drive me crazy, now I just miss knowing that he's somewhere in the world, maybe remembering what day it is, or maybe not.

he died less than a month ago, and I know eventually I'll get more "used" to his absence, I've been here before after all, but I hate this year of firsts. Every significant day will be bittersweet from here on out, but especially this year.

so, I'm making apple crisp, my favorite dessert, to make the house smell yummy and to have something tasty to eat. I'll cry a little, smile a lot over all the facebook birthday greetings and keep on moving.

Saturday, January 30

why do they do that?

So, I had a dentist appointment last week. Thanks to bad dental genes and grad school years without insurance, I have a significant amount of dental work that needs to be done. I started Thursday and during a cleaning, the hygienist points out a gap in my teeth I need to pay attention to. I mumble ('cause her hands and instruments are in my numb mouth) "where?"; to which she replies, "here, where I'm working." I point out that as my mouth is numb I have no idea where that is! She, who numbed me, seemed surprised by this information. Sigh.

Friday, January 1


Wow, what an incredibly lazy day and a half. I spent NYE hibernating in my apartment, watching old movies on TMC. I rang in 2010, asleep and dreaming away, cozy in my bed. It's been an incredibly busy and emotional couple of months - what with maybe having my position eliminated in the next few months...or maybe not; being in mobility, but not having much happen there; being annoyed at being single right now (it's one of those phases)...I just didn't want to be around people pretending to be happy and engaged with what was happening. It was just easier and healthier to stay at home and let the turn of the year pass relatively unmarked. Tonight I'm going to a synod youth committee planning meeting, so I'm enjoying the last few hours of peace and quiet before I'm 24 hours with a BUNCH of high energy teens. They are amazing, but I'm just not into the people stuff right now. I should be taking down decorations and packing Christmas away, or cleaning, or finishing the sermon for Sunday, or being productive in some way. But, nope, I spent the morning watching the movies I DVR'd last night (only one Nick, Nora and Asta movie to go).

Next week is the trip to ND to see family (and at least one friend). It's insanely cold there right now, and I'm going to be incredibly whiny, I just know it. The current challenge is to fit a week's worth of cold weather clothing into a carry-on bag. If I "re-purpose" the clothes, I know I can do it!

Now, I think a nap may be in order...I need to be ready for the teens!

Thursday, December 24

Christmas Eve

So, here I am huddled on my couch enjoying a cup of coffee and West Wing reruns. I'm enjoying a few hours of "down time" before the craziness of Christmas Eve at the church. I'm kind of solo this year for Christmas. I have had many invitations to Christmas dinner tomorrow, and even an offer to spend tonight at a friend's house so I didn't have to wake up alone Christmas morning. I am most certainly blessed by people's love and concern for me.

I'm still extremely frustrated by work and the situation / environment at the office. I'm in mobility, looking for a new call, but the process just takes so long and I'm not sure that I trust the "process" this time around. Trusting it got me in the situation that I'm currently in, and while there have been many, many blessings that have come out of it, overall it's not a good fit. The latest is financial - the church can't afford two pastors and 7 (yes 7) part time lay staff. And, no one in the leadership wants to evaluate the whole staffing model (avoidance and denial are more par for the course), although we have said publicly that a pastor position may have to be eliminated. Sr. Pastor (SP) is one of the great perpetrators of the denial and avoidance and that's never going to change. He continues to be passive-aggressive and manipulative in that way. He won't (or maybe can't) be direct in his requests, or criticisms and it just makes life that much more frustrating for the rest of us.

But, I'm trying to focus on the good this Christmas season...the people who love me and whom I have grown to love; the ministry that I have done; the amazing people with whom I work; the privilege it is to preach, teach and administer the sacraments; the great joy to be invited into people's lives. That is a better place to be...I need to work to stay here as long as I can.

Merry Christmas! May the reality of God-babe-in-the-manger enter into every life.

Friday, April 3

revgalblogs Friday Five: Time Out edition

Holy Week is almost upon us, I suspect that ordained or not, other revgal/pals calendars look a bit like mine, FULL, FULL, FULL........

Jesus was great at teaching us to take time out, even in that last week, right up to Maundy Thursday he withdrew, John's gospel tells us he hid! He hid not because he was afraid, but because he knew that he needed physical, mental and spiritual strength to get through...

So faced with a busy week:

1. What restores you physically? Sleep. A good 7-9 hours of sleep. Also, exercise - a nice brisk walk, stretching, deep breathing all help. Of course, I'm much better at getting the sleep than the exercise!

2. What strengthens you emotionally/ mentally? Reading, watching movies, talking with friends, crossword puzzles, creating something - I've just resumed a counted cross stitch project and will probably plug away at it in my "down time" in the coming week.

3. What encourages you spiritually? Silence, candlelight, friends

4. Share a favourite poem or piece of music from the coming week. I am always moved by Ah, Holy Jesus. The words hit at the heart for me - my heart and the heart of Holy Week.

5.There may be many services for you to attend/ lead over the next week, which one are you most looking forward to and why? If there aren't do you have a favourite day in Holy week if so which one is it? I LOVE the Easter Vigil. Anonymous Lutheran does not do the vigil, but I'm participating in one at a church up the way a bit. Really looking forward to it. Of the services we're doing - Good Friday. We're continuing our lenten focus on the cross by doing an adoration of the cross service, rather than tenebrae, which has been the practice at ALC in recent years. I love the silence, the time for prayer, the music.

Friday, February 20

revgalblogs Friday Five

Taking a Break Friday Five. Tell us how you would spend:

1. a 15 minute break
usually a short walk to the convenience store close by for a soda or a snack of some kind.

2. an afternoon off
hmm...sometimes - me, a book, the couch, a blanket; other times - a movie or a walk

3. an unexpected free day
sleeping in, running errands, cleaning, reading

4. a week's vacation
aha!...this one I do have coming up - and I'm going to O'ahu to visit friends and sit on the beach

5. a sabbatical
I'm not far enough into my call to consider this for real, but I think a sailing class for personal development, maybe something with writing and for the education part -  leadership...mine, developing it in others.