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.

Saturday, February 14


yesterday I "defended" my thesis...which sounds so combative and this wasn't. It was a good conversation with three scholars that I admire and like, so it was a good time, actually. I now have some editing to do, but it shouldn't take too long, I hope. I'm giving myself today away and tomorrow afternoon I'm going to hit the edits.

Last night two friends took me out for a surprise trip to a local show and I had a great time. I spent the night at their place, and got to play with the baby and was treated to a breakfast of waffles and fake mimosas before hitting the road to return home. I should be writing a sermon or planning Sunday School, but just can't get motivated. I'm very, very, very tired.

But, I'm done. Yay, me.

Friday, February 6

Revgalblogs Friday Five

A Friday Five from Songbird: In a week of wondering how various things in our family life will unfold, I found myself thinking of the way Maria comforted the Von Trapp children in one of my favorite movies. Frightened by a thunder storm, the children descend upon her, and she sings to them about her favorite things, taking their minds off the storm.

So, let's encourage ourselves. Share with us five of your favorite things...

Going with theme in the song, I've chosen five things that bring me comfort. Happy Friday.

Thursday, February 5


I've been seriously hibernating the last few weeks. I've been marginally in contact with some people, but I haven't talked on the phone much at all and my email inbox is full of emails awaiting response. I just haven't wanted deal with others outside of those I have to already in my daily life. I think it is in large part a response to getting my thesis to my committee (now that is done and I can take time off). But my apartment has piles on the piles and I blithely step over and around the ones on the floor to get to the kitchen, the couch and the bed. But, this morning, I woke up, decided I was tired of it and wanted to deal with it I got a start on it this morning and am looking forward to when I can get home again to complete the job. 

I'm prone to slothfulness...Kathleen Norris' book on acedia speaks to this. In fact I identified strongly enough that I stopped reading a short way into the book when I started it a few months ago. Since then it has been in the pile of books by my bed, and perhaps there will be a time when I pick it up again. What I do remember reading, though, is that the monks' way to combat acedia is action, movement, simply doing something can help combat the strong desire to do nothing. So I hope that my renewed energy around picking up and communicating with people again means that I am coming "out" of it - at least for now. 

I go out of town next week for a few days (for "Baby Pastor Camp" aka First Call Theological Education) and then on Friday the 13th I meet with my committee for my thesis defense (which my adviser keeps referring to as an exam which feels less combative) so hopefully I'm in the mood for people again or I'll be pretty miserable!

Wednesday, January 21

done, doNE, DONE!

The thesis is done!...mostly. My adviser has a hard copy of the final draft. The exam copies go to the committee members Monday, Jan 26, so I will print them on Sunday. I'm hoping said adviser gets me any suggestions for major edits before then. If not, the committee will get what I've got.

I have had a lot of people cheering for me and commenting that I must be relieved and excited. I'm not. I feel like I should be, but I'm just not there. I know there will be more editing to come...and that it won't feel "done" until after my defense, the edits, the printing and the filing all happen. The day I drop the copies off at the library - then it will feel (and be) "done." On that note, I was hoping that my insomnia would end when I finished and handed it off to my adviser. Apparently not. Yesterday, you see, he said, "no table of contents?", and apparently it was vital that he get one before 6AM today, (at least to some part of my brain) as I woke up at 3:00 am thinking about it and could not go back to sleep. At 4:30 I gave up, did some of the citation editing I needed to do, tried to decipher old German script to retype it for a footnote and then typed the table of contents so I could email it by 5:40am. Seriously? This couldn't have waited until 9:00?

Friday, January 16

Revgalblogs Friday Five

Whether it's new friends or new loves or new employers, what are five things people should know about you?

I am very direct. I say what I think and I don't play political "games" well. I tend to be the one that says, "yeah, but...", or actually names the elephant in the room. It sometimes gets me into trouble...and certainly did when I worked in Division I athletics. 

I have a screwy sense of humor. If someone teases me, I tease back, often with a straight delivery - this strangely often puts people on the defensive of "I was just kidding..." Yes - I'm aware, so was I.

I need my down time. I'm a pretty balanced introvert-extrovert, but I absolutely need time on my own to recharge. So, while I think out loud much of the time, I need to have a quiet space to retreat.

I am so not a morning person. I prefer to ease into the day whenever possible - with a nice, hot cup of coffee, or two, before dealing with many other humans. I can fake it when I have to, but too many days in a row of that and I start to get really, really snarky.

I'm a traveler. Even when I lived in the same town for 11 years, I moved several times to new apartments. I'm often keeping my eyes open for what's I need help and reminders to stay in the moment. Thankfully I have great friends and an awesome spiritual director who help me do just that.

Thursday, January 15

at it again

the retreat plan worked well! I got a lot done - some good writing, some good organizing, got my bibliography updated - it was, well, a brilliant plan. I'm now on (hopefully) brilliant plan #2...I'm at the seminary for tonight and tomorrow night and the theological library Friday and Saturday and hopefully by the end of that I'll be done-ish. "ish" because I'll want to print a hard copy Sunday and proof and then get it to ye olde adviser Tuesday when we meet about the class I'm TA-ing. EEK!

So - may focus, perseverance, concentration and good writing mojo be mine for the next 48 hours or so.

Monday, January 12


since Jan 2007 I've been working on a thesis for an MA in Liturgical Studies. Several things - temporal and existential - have delayed and derailed me at different times during this process. BUT...I'm in the home stretch!! Today, I traveled about 15 miles north of home and work to a Roman Catholic retreat center (where I apparently am the only guest) lock myself away and write.

I put in a few hours and then took a short walk to a nearby Starbucks to catch up on some emailing, and to do some other stuff on-line. So, I'm getting ready to head back to my "nun room" as I called it on a phone call earlier today, where I will read and write and think and write and write. It has been good to have a space to focus and to not have access to the internet while I'm there. I didn't even bring a book or a magazine to read so I HAVE to work on the thesis...or sleep, I guess. I'm here until 3PM tomorrow, and I can't believe I didn't think of this before, but better late than never.

Prayers and cosmic hope for good writing mojo and persistence are appreciated!

Friday, January 9

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Pancakes

1. Scratch or mix? Buttermilk or plain?
Mix...although it is embarressing to admit. I usually go for the buttermilk version.

2. Pure and simple, or with additions cooked in?
Both...if i add anything, it's usually bananas.

3. For breakfast or for dinner?
Yes. I love breakfast for dinner!

4. Preferred syrup or other topping? How about the best side dish?
I'm a traditionalist - Trader Joe's pure maple syrup all the way...warmed if possible. Best side dish: I'm a sucker for sausages.

5. Favorite pancake restaurant?
I don't go out a lot for breakfast...but I do love IHOP's pancakes.

Thursday, January 8

playing "the card" ALC, they have had a tradition of 1st communion in 5th grade. In fact SP told me it was in the congregation's constitution. As we've been moving forward with a process to eliminate the age requirement from communion, it was discovered it isn't actually in the constitution..anywhere. So - that makes things easier, procedurally. But...tonight we talked again about this at council...the usual "they won't understand"...."they should know what's happening"...blah, blah, blah.

Do I ever get to play the "it's my decision" card? My letter of call talks about administration of the sacraments - it doesn't say the congregation gets a vote. Do I get to ever say to the curmudgeon who comes to the table with his fingers held in a pinching motion to grab the wafer out of my hands (instead of open hands to receive) I ever get to say to him..."Bummer you're bent out of shape about this...but it's not about you." Probably not, huh? But, having discovered that this isn't in the constitution, I've become acutely aware that it really is a pastoral decision. Of course we want to educate, inform and discuss this with the congregation...but at the end of this, I'm opposed to a vote of any kind on this topic, and I'm afraid the loud, cranky voices in the congregation, and on council, will push for one. Maybe not, but it's what I'm afraid of.

But, dammit, I am the pastor (well, one of them)...and it really is a pastoral decision. Sigh...I just probably won't ever get to say that in a meeting.

Wednesday, January 7

i need a coach...

I've decided that I need a thesis coach...aka someone to yell at me when I'm watching TV, or playing games instead of writing. Any takers?

I have my defense scheduled for Feb 13, which means I have only a few remaining weeks to get the 75 pages done and to my committee so that they have time to read it before that day (which is, yes, in fact, Friday the 13th). Hence, I need to be writing, writing, writing...not watching TV or doing other things with my computer. I came to Starbucks early hoping to get some work done before work...but only copped a tiny table, which doesn't work with how I write - I need room to spread out! - so I'm complaining here and then heading into the office to hopefully get some thesis work done at my desk before my marathon day. Have latte, will travel. Thankfully, I don't preach this week, and confirmation class is pretty much ready - so I just need to shut my door, stay off of Hexic and WORK! (I still think I could use someone to sit one of the other chairs in my office and yell when I stray off into game land....or googling land....) sigh. I'm so bad at self-motivation. 

addendum: as I was packing up to leave the big table opened, I got set up and started and then the soccer mom clutch moved in next to me and man, they are loud! to the office - hopefully I can stay focused there. Ugh

Friday, January 2

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five

As we look back we may come to understand how God has worked in and through us in joy and sadness. how we have grown against what may seem impossible odds. As we look forward we may do so with expectation, and we may do so with fear and trembling. As we look back and forward in New Years liminality I offer you this simple yet I hope profound Friday Five in two parts:

First list five things that you remember/ treasure from 2008
1. My first call! Gainfully employed after an extended period of waiting.
2. My ordination - the service was powerful and meaningful and all that I hoped it would be.
3. The visits with SM and KR - their ordinations, my ordination, Shakespeare at Ashland, vacation in MT, yurt!...I treasure their friendship and was blessed to be able to see them so often in 2008. I fear that '09 won't have as many opportunities.
4. Seeing dad's visit for Christmas, and my brother's visit in November before deploying to Iraq. It was good to spend time with him before he left - and on that note, I am in great debt to the person(s) who developed Skype. It allows us to keep in touch through chat, voice and video....for FREE!!
5. The great staff I work with at ALC - it's had its challenges, but I'm extremely blessed to be working with such a great group of people.

Then list five things that you are looking forward to in 2009
...I actually did this a few days ago in my last post, so if you're interested, scroll down a bit.

A Happy and Blessed 2009 to all.