Sunday, July 23, 2006

What's Wrong With This Picture - 10 minute power blog

Ok, it's an hour past my bedtime (yes, overacheivers like me must have a bedtime otherwise we'd stay up all night catching up on those things we might be missing. not that that is what is happening right now).

But, another really busy week is starting and I want to make sure to make my mark on the blogosphere.

And speaking of making my mark, I know you've been breathlessly waiting to hear what is happening with the Juniper Family Dog Search. Well, so glad you asked! We've been in touch with several rescue organizations in town. One has been compeletely silent, even though I have sent THREE EXTREMELY WELL CRAFTED emails to different addresses. (I guess maybe "leave them alone" is the next solution.) One called and said they got our inquiry and would call us back the next day with info about some dogs that would be good for us. Havent heard anything. One said they dont adopt dogs to anyone who has a younger-than-six-year-old child. (Yeah, because 9 year old boys never commit malicious mischief with their pets....) One answered the follow-up email by saying they hadnt gotten the original application, although the app and followup were sent to the same email address about 24 hours apart.

Sheesh, people, I know you are volunteer run organizations, but get it together! For goodness sakes, if we approached the saving of lost souls as cavalier-ly as you approach the saving of lost dogs, the mainline protestant church in America would be in a sorry situation indeed! [crickets] Um, yeah. Ok, I'll get down off my righteous high horse, and just go back to my prayer.

God, our dog is waiting out there for us. Please keep it safe until it can come home with us. Amen.

Friday, July 21, 2006

I heart the Rev Gals - A Friday Five

1) What is your first memory of the RevGalBlogPals?
Hmm, not sure. But I know that it was Sue who brought me here...

2) Have you met any of the other ring members in real life?
Kirstin's working my neighborhood for the summer, so we've hung out (And she stayed at my house for a while, too!).

3) Of those you haven't met, name a few you would love to know in person.
Songbird, Will Smama, Inner Dorothy (hey Sue - I'm gonna be in Duluth August - do you ever get down that way?), Pink Shoes, Bad Alice, Amy at Talk with the Preacher, well all of you really...

4) What has Ring Membership added to your life?
Lots of laugher, advice (what kind of dog to get? what to preach about next week? - it's all here), lots of new book ideas (including at least 3000 pages of George RR Martin), recipes (still havent tried that purple chicken, rev mommy, but it's in my box for sometime...), a reason to blog and a sense that someone out there might actually read what I'm writing, realization that women all over the world struggle and rejoice about the same things as me, prayers, a virtual (and real) experience of community.

5) Describe a hope for the future of the WebRing.
Let's have a virtual retreat!
(For peole like me who still have continuing ed time, but, alas have spent all their money) My idea so far:

We'd pick 2-3 days for the retreat, say in October.
Pick a wide theme like Discernment, or Renewal, or Redemption, or others??
During those 2-3 days, we'd commit to clear our calendars and read, pray and blog intensively and exclusively on the theme - maybe on a blog set up just for the retreat?
You dont have to be a Rev or a Gal, natch, to throw your hat in.

Comments please!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Bottomless Well of Wellness

Warning: Boring health update. Migraine-ers only need apply...

So, for the last several months, I've been taking an anti-depressant named Cymbalta which the neurologist thought might help these migraines. The headaches continue about the same, so the doc recommended going off the drug. Now I'm wondering if, even though they were not stopping the headaches, if I should continue them. I am experiencing some things now that I didnt notice all that much before, but now that I've had a break from them, it's hard to go back.

The weepys: Everything's making me cry again. On our morning walk, a nice woman complimented Eli on his excellent biking and I felt my eyes tear up when I saw how proud he felt. Sheesh.

The drama: Everything is 40 times as [fill in the blank of your favorite emotion here] as it was before. 40 times being, of course, an example calculated to be hyperbolic and therefore overly dramatic.

Irritation: EVERYONE IS SO ANNOYING! I've been picking on my family all weekend.

The Difficulty of Interacting With The Physical World: You know how I could figure out how to solve the problem of world peace if I didn't spend so damn much time looking for my keys? On the cymbalta, I never misplaced things. Or if I did, I just calmly looked for them until I found. No, I think I pretty much never lost things. Since I've been off, I cant keep track of anything. And housework seems harder to get a handle on too - dishes (hi will smama) just keep piling up for instance.

Anxiety: The good part about anxiety is that is gets me up early in the morning (six oclock! ok! better get up and get going! got so much to do! and I better get to it asap or someone will find out what big fat FRAUD I am! ). The bad part about anxiety is ditto.

Tinnitus: It's interesting that some of the herbs suggested for tinnitus (feverfew, for example) are also thought to work on migraines. Anyway, will you think I'm crazy if I tell you that I can hear a noise that no-one else can hear again now that I'm off the cymbalta? It's not constant, but every couple of minutes I hear three loud chirping noises. I used to hear them but pretty much got used to them and blocked them out, did not hear them again when I was taking cymbalta and now I hear them again and I'm noticing them alot more. See, you do think I'm crazy. Ok, I'll stop talking about the noises now.

On the other hand, I preached the pretty much kick-assing-est sermon of my whole short career today (judging by the feedback) and I've been blogging and exercising every day. Maybe I'm not getting more done, but I'm feeling really creative and I'm up early instead of lying in bed until 8:30 grogging, "ohhh, I, can, sleep, another, half, hour, who, will, care......."

Advice from others who have ridden the antidepressant roller coaster warmly welcomed.

Friday, July 14, 2006

pet peeves

I've had an extremely peevish day, so this is just perfect timing.

I'm wondering about your pet peeves. Here's your chance to vent, gripe, and grumble to your heart's content.

1. Grammatical pet peeve
People who put an apostrophe in their name when they really just mean to pluralize themselves. as in: "All the Brown's will be there" urrrg.

In this vane: I usually preach from a manuscript, but a couple weeks ago I did it from notes and in listening to the tape to see how it went (Eli was the hospital that weekend, so I was a little distracted and when several people asked me how the sermon went and I COULD NOT REMEMBER PREACHING, I thought it would be a good idea to listen to it and see what happened) I was shocked how many times I said "like" as a filler word. Yikes. Any tips on how to stop doing that appreciated.

2. Household pet peeve
The peristent yuckiness of the bathtub.

3. Arts & Entertainment pet peeve (movie theaters, restaurants, concerts)
Anything that claims it is wheelchair accessible which actually is not (I heard this from a movie theater one time "it's only a short flight of steps, and we had a guy get carried up here one time last year and it was no problem for him") or in which the the wheelchair accomodations are so far removed from or so close to, the action that they are just plain uncomfortable.

4. Liturgical pet peeve
Uptightness. You are CELEBRATING the liturgy, people, not throwing a funeral for it!

5. Wild card--pet peeve that doesn't fit any of the above categories
Constantly changing, but current hot button issue in our house is spitting. I blame the movie Madagascar that a certain four year old in our house can hardly get something in his mouth without seeing what it would look and feel like if he spit it out. So nasty.

Bonus: Because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God: What do YOU do that others might consider a pet peeve?
Talking too fast. Also, I have these hearing aids which I kind of consider a boost, like reading glasses for other people, so I wear them only when I'm working or when I think of it, which is not really all that often. I know that really irritates some of my other fast talkin' pals.
My husband is peeved when I bump into things with the car. (Hey! there's a lot of stuff out there! I find it amazing I dont bump into things more often! Not that I'm defensive or anything!)

Should be sermon writing, but wasting all day looking at p e t p o r n (aka instead

Look!! at Henry's cute little whiskery face (unless you live in Seattle and are also looking for a dog, in which case do NOT look, because then you will want him too.) He currently lives at the shelter, coming up for adoption in a week. Not exactly a small dog (but Irish wolfhound mixes dont get THAT big right? - ha!) but LOOK HOW CUTE!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Book exchange anyone??

Does anyone have a copy of LED BY LOVE: WORSHIP RESOURCES FOR YEAR B by Lavon Baylor that you are done with?
If you could send it to me, I would be happy to exchange the new Brian McLaren book, which I'm now done with (thanks to Jan at Church for Starving Artists, who sent it to me in the first place) or one of my other billions of books with you - just let me know what you're interested in.

Email me or post in the comments. Thanks!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

For this week's church newsletter:

I’m typing this in the kitchen, standing up in front of my laptop computer at the counter, while my 4 year old son and his best friend have a snack. “Jen!” his friend says, “Elijah’s chewing with his mouth open!” I ask him to stop and when he doesn’t I say something to his friend that I heard many times as a child. “Don’t let him push your buttons,” I admonish.

Four is an age of literalism, and they stare at me blankly. As so often happens, I’m suddenly scrambling to explain something that seemed perfectly clear to me coming out of my mouth. “Um, ‘push someone’s buttons’ means bothering them on purpose. He’s doing it because he wants to bug you. If you don’t get bugged, he’ll stop.” The kids go back to their snack and I go back to my computer, and then I hear both of them trying out their new slang, “Hey, stop it! You’re pushing my buttons!” This time I try a new admonishment, “Just be kind to each other. Be kind.”

As adults, we may be more subtle about it, but this is how we live, isn’t it? In our communities and neighborhoods and families, we DO push each other’s buttons. We get bugged. We need reminders to be kind.

Our church is one of the places where we learn and practice how to be in community with each other. We learn and practice compassion, and then we go out in the world and try to live it. And like the lessons learned around the kitchen table, “Don’t let her push your buttons. Don’t bug him. Be kind” – we can carry these lessons out into the world, to be the authentic, compassionate people God calls us to be. We can’t just hear those words once, or twice or fifty times. We have to keep hearing them and practicing them over and over our whole lives long. The hearing of those words, and the practicing, is why we gather together in worship, in meetings, at play. Because we know that we just can’t remember it on our own. We need the stories in scripture, we need the sacraments – baptism and communion, and we need the Christ we find in each other.

The kids have now finished their snack, and they’re playing something in the backyard involving a lot of splashing water around. This definitely means that someone is going to get their buttons pushed before long. And then I’ll start over, saying the same words, and hoping that this is the time they’ll sink in. Until I say them the next time.

See you in church!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Stuff I Found Out About While Goofing Around the Blogosphere Tonight

1. Free tickets to the movie An Inconvenient Truth for Christians who agree to post their responses to the movie after they've seen it.

2. Here's a book I'm going to buy for when Eli's a revolutionary who's too busy going to peace marches and riding his skateboard to go to school.

3. Guess what? Pastors blog too! Featuring our own RGBP, Jan of the Church for Starving Artists.

4. Even at 20 weeks, Sara at going jesus is still the funniest church lady on the web.

5. Some people who need prayers, (besides you, besides me - I mean, who DOESN'T need prayers) are Ann at Your Only Comfort and Steve at Ragamuffin Ramblings.

6. Sue relaxes the same way I do. Not by lying down with a good book like a normal person, but by Making Things Tidy.

7. Even in ten years, I'm still going to be wistful sending the boy off to camp. Sigh.

8. And lastly. This photo speaks for itself. (But I can't let a PICTURE have the last word, so then I say - "Hey, Republican party! Your house is comin' DOWN, baby!")

The World of Men

Eli:...and when I go to sports camp, then you'll be proud of me.
Me: Honey, I'm pretty much always proud of you.
Eli: (sigh) But not Daddy, though.
Jeff (aka Very Proud and Very Vocal About It Daddy): OmiGod, it's starting already. Where does that COME from?

Tomorrow Eli starts a little basics sports camp. Five half days. Fifteen hours. Lots of running and maybe some basic basketball, soccer and baseball skills. Usually I'm all for Breaks for Mommy, especially in this dry season of minimal day care, but I find myself feeling unexpectedly sad about this one.

My pal said, "But he went to VBS last year, it's the same thing." It's 15 hours, all right, but other than that it doesnt feel like the same thing at all. It feels instead like he's crossing a line and he's never coming back - from the "women and children" category to the "boys and men" category. It feels like they're getting their claws into him way too early. It feels like my sweet little boy, who is active for sure but sweet and kind and gentle with small, fragile things is now going to become a spitting, crotch-grabbing jerk (ok, I guess he already is two out of those three, but still).

In other words, I'm overeacting.

Jeff and I have have watched with a mix of fascination, horror and pride as our little son has obsessed about one sport after another. Since he could talk, pretty much all he's wanted to talk about (besides guitars - his other obsession - and race cars, ever since we saw that movie) is whatever sport he's currently into. After I took him to a football game, it was football. All winter, it was hockey. And then baseball. Today he asked me when I would get him "a ball and some pins to knock down, so I can do some bowling." Have I mentioned that he's four years old? Have I mentioned that there are no two people less interested in sports in a 50 mile radius than my husband and I? Have I mentioned that we have NO IDEA WHERE HE GETS IT?

If you're the praying kind, pray for us on Monday if you think of it.
For our Sweet Jock, that it's all he hopes it'll be. That it will make him, not break him.
For me, to let him go. Always that's my prayer - to let him go.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Good Death

Do you ever listen to, or stop by, Radio Open Source? Christopher Lydon has my favorite voice on radio, so I dont really care what the topic is, I just stop by to listen.

However I listened closely tonight and posted this comment there about the show The Good Death.

I’m a pastor who works mostly with older folks. As I sit with these lovely people, who are dying or getting ready to die, I’m struck by this: it’s not necessarily the money spent or not that makes a good death. It’s not even the health that the person came into old age with (although I’m with all you good eaters and exercisers in practice). Instead, it seems to me that people who can die well have two things going for them. First, they have the ability to love — love themselves, other people and God, however God is named for them.

Second, they have perfected in their whole life the ability to let go. There has been a lot of talk here about control — controlling your death by what and how you eat, staying healthy, talking to your family, exercising, etc, but ultimately death is really about really letting go, about surrender.

This has been on my mind lately, so the show was very timely. I was talking with a college pal who came through town this week (hi J!) about worry and she said something like "I didnt realize until recently that I had an option to worry, and a choice about what I was going to worry about." Living with a husband who is terminally ill (which is what I say about Jeff since he will most likely die from the effects of muscular dystrophy, although that could be in 5 years or 15 years or 25 years) and with a son who was seriously ill at birth and would have died without medical intervention puts me closer to death than lots of people I know who are my age. I have thought and prayed alot about this, and I dont know why it it is, but I dont worry about it. I dont even fear it - death I mean.

I've written and erased a dozen poignant last sentences to this blog, but maybe there isn't one. Maybe there is only this question. What does A Good Death mean for you?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Really Exciting News!

Under the terms of our lease, we cannot have a dog. But we have a really nice landlord, and this is his only rental property (so he's not really very strict) so I asked him today when I dropped off the rent if he'd be willing to consider it - and he is! Woo hoo!

Now we can begin an actual discernment process about whether we want one. Any suggestions of short-haired (sorry Songbird, Molly and Sam), good-with-kids, like-to-take-walks kind of dogs? (Full Disclosure: I have a weird fascination with pugs - does anyone have one who could recommend them?)

Preparing for my least favorite holiday of the year

Where were you 10 years ago? I was having this sad little conversation.
Guy I used to work with: Wow. I never MET someone who hated fireworks before.
Me: (pathetically using the only comeback I could think of) Yeah, well I never met someone who hated the Beatles before.

I really havent grown to love fireworks, or the holiday that inspires them, any more since then. And especially in wartime, I think we should be questioning what our government is doing and speaking out against it, rather than blindly celebrating it. And what is our celebration if not an affirmation of the powers that be?

Thanks to Jan, who already said it better than I can:
Last summer I heard Brian McLaren bravely declare at a Darfur fundraiser -- and at the foot of The Lincoln Memorial no less -- that he is offended as a Christian when he hears a politician say "God bless America" to close a speech. God has already blessed America beyond what most nations can scarcely imagine, he said (or something like that.) A more faithful response would be to turn to weaker nations and bless them in response to our wealth. We are not the center of the universe.

And as much as I love my country, idolizing it is a sin. We don't worship flags any more than we worship the symbols of the church. We are supposed to be worshipping only One. As a nation, we have fallen short of the glory of God and we need to ask for forgiveness.

And who also introduced me to this website. Yikes, there are some things I guess I'm glad not to know too much about.

And speaking of yikes. You might think that this is a joke. But it really is someone's idea of a patriotic theme.