Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New Year


1. We called for an appointment with a guy at our bank who will help us plan a budget.  We know there must be a better way than either my way (dont think about money - things will probably work out), and J's way (worry about money all the time - any minute we will lose everything).  We are hoping this guy will help us start finding some middle ground.

2. I found out that there is a Weight Watchers meeting nearby and at a time I can go to it.  Because gaining a few pounds a year is ok for a few years, but it is just not sustainable in the long run. 

3. Made an appointment with a chiropractor.  (Did you know about my chiropractophobia?  And how when I overcome it, I feel much better?  But how overcoming it is kind of challenging? Now you do.)

4. Took down the Christmas tree and all the decorations on the day I wanted to do it.

It's a kind of discipline for me to even write a list like this  -- one that has on it the little steps I'm taking toward big changes that need to happen (slowly) in my life. And I'm tempted now to add something self-deprecating about the sink full of dirty dishes (it really is full of dirty dishes.  And as it's almost midnight, I think I'm probably just not going to get to them tonight). The new year is so often about resolutions that dont get resolved, about brave first steps taken without any follow thru, that it's hard to even claim the little steps that do get taken.  I've been encouraging the folks at church to remember that God loves the process as much as the outcome, and smiles with joy at our attempts, whether they lead to success or not.  I try to remember it for myself, too.   As J says, "well, we have to start SOMEWHERE."  So, here's to new years coming, and starting somewhere.

Hope your Christmas was delicious. 

Sunday, December 23, 2007

How to assemble an Ikea bunkbed, the Juniper way

Step One: Buy the bed and have it delivered in two devilishly heavy boxes.

Step Two: Hire Darrell and his other brother Darrell to put it together for you.

Step Three: Believe the brothers when they tell you that the center support piece is about three inches too short for the top bunk and decide return it.

Step Four: In the meantime, swing like monkeys on the mostly finished bunkbed which, without its top, is just like a super fun jungle gym.

Step Five: Return the center support piece with rather more than the usual difficulty. While you are there, get a bunch of new pillows, some cloth napkins and a table cloth, a lamp, and a chair cover that you will eventually have to return since you have no chair to put it on.

Step Six: Back at home, realize that the support piece you have brought home is actually the center support piece for the bottom bunk, which is full-sized, not twin-sized.

Step Seven: Ask Husband Scary Voice to call the store, and request that they mail us a new piece, so we dont have to go back to the store. Do not be surprised when they agree to ship it free of charge. Immediately.

Step Eight: Receive the new center support piece in the mail. It is about three inches too short for the top bunk.

Step Nine: Wait three weeks, or until cooled off.

Step Ten: Return both the too-short and the too-long support pieces. Get a support piece that is just the right length. Also the chair that you wanted last time which was out of stock, new knives because you are too lazy to sharpen the perfectly good ones you already have, something that costs 99 cents (what is it? who cares!!?? It costs less than a dollar!!) and some picture frames.

Step Eleven: Try not to calculate the final, total cost of the bed.

Christmas Eve Eve

You know how you think you've pretty much got it together, but then you wonder why you're feeling so munchy at 8 pm? And you realize it's because you forgot all about dinner.

E usually has a little bowl of oatmeal before bed. I remembered to give him that. Do you think it will last him the night?

Hmm, parenting isn't going so well, let's talk about church. The two Christmas services so far have gone almost unbelievably well. I keep trying to remember to keep it in perspective, because the honeymoon never lasts, blah, blah, blah, but I love. this. church. so. much.

I learned an important thing this weekend, the not-so-easy way. If someone you can count on doesnt show up, and you think "I should call" and then you think, "Nah, something probably just came up, it's the holidays and all...." - really, you should call.

E was delighted to show me the fuzzy slippers and new matchbox car that he found! The slippers just fit and the matchbox car was just the kind he likes, with the engine that opens! Next year, I will have to stash the stocking stuff in a more secure locale, evidently.

If you'd like a little break (from holiday stress, inlaws, what have you) may I suggest that you go to You Tube and search for ABBA? That will cheer you right up.

And if that doesnt, work, try this instead: (tip of the habit to Sue).

Friday, December 21, 2007

I, 2, 3

Today is my favorite worship service of the year - The Longest Night service.  At my previous churches, this has been a little thing, with maybe a dozen people.  I'm introducing this service at my new place, and everyone is still being kind and enthusiastic about everything, and lots of people say they are coming.  Lots of candles, a few readings, lots of quiet music and silence, silence, silence......Oh, I can hardly wait.

Sunday, switching dramatic gears, will be the chaos of a spontaneous Christmas Pageant (Thanks for the script, Sue!  Which I adapated and I hope will work - I'll let you know.).  Everything is in place that can be, so it's mostly a matter of prayer now. 

Monday, lots of visits I hope and then a festival of lessons and carols, which is being totally set up by our music director who (listen, mom!) experienced it LIVE AT KINGS COLLEGE last winter!!  So cool.  Hopefully, our slightly less polished version wont be disappointing to him.

Then - TWO DAYS OFF in a row.  When people ask me what I'm doing for Christmas, I just look at them kind of glassy-eyed.  I cannot imagine.  But I think it will have a lot to do with opening presents (E's request), the fireplace and a stack of books as tall as the Christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

#401 - The Most Boring Blog Post Ever

Hey,that last post was my 400th, it turns out.

That today was much kinder than yesterday, although busy, so busy.

Because even when everything doesn't break at once, everything does happen at once.

Although when that everything is a lot of people wishing you happy birthday, that is pretty nice.

Those of you who own houses, how often do you have visits from service people?

Because we are averaging one per week.

Which, though pleasant in its way, is something of a strain on the budget.

Tonight, the plumber, who fixed our clogged garbage disposal while he told us a lot about his six kids, his friends' kids that live with him, his new house that he's going to buy if it goes through that has twelve bedrooms, and his pets, including an African blue (a bird), a lab, a bunch of reptiles and a tarantulas.

We cant even keep a house plant alive.

We do, however, have a Christmas tree, which is looking good.

Talked on Skype video with my bro and sister in law tonight. Have you ever done that? It is cool! And free!

E's Sunday school teacher wants us to be sure to know that she did not teach him to end the song with "...go tell it on the MOUNtain, that JEEZus CHRIST eats cheese!"
I did not tell her that we, in fact taught him that to save us all from something much more scatological.

Although, he is now singing himself to sleep with Away In the Manger like the most angelic 5 year old who ever lived.

Maybe I should record it, and send it to someone on Skype.

Monday, December 10, 2007

When I say everything is broken, I do not exaggerate

Might it be that they all missed the ex-office admin, whose last day was Friday?  How else to explain why, on a day when I was an hour late getting to the office by reasons mostly beyond my control, 
the furnace
my printer
the main office computer
the adding machine
were all malfunctioning?

Or maybe it was just some karma I had to work out today (I KNOW you buddhists, that karma doesn't work that way, it's just the best word at that moment) since when I got home the kitchen sink was plugged and when I went to get the draino at the store, the credit card swiper  wouldn't read my card.

The draino didn't work, either, for the record.

When google doesnt work

I just googled

"year is to annual as month is to........" and got nothing. Any ideas what you call something that happens monthly? Oh, right. Monthly.

Once again the extrovert answers her own question by just talking alot about it.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Guns to guitars

I guess it's old news now, but in case you havent seen it yet, as I hadn't, check out this picture from the blog of Cesar Lopez, Columbian activist and musician who makes guitars out of guns.

Lopez, quoted at Peace Blog, says "Violence fears love because it is stronger. Violence fears my voice because it goes beyond death."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Carol over at Tribal Church is asking lots of good questions about leadership although the comments seem to be all about what is good preaching, which makes me wonder a lot of things.

1. Does great leadership equal prophetic preaching? What about leaders who lead in other ways - as great teachers, for examples, or excellent administrators (I mean, it's not very sexy, but if you can run a meeting you can rule the world. Which is why I'm not not ruling the world.).

2. One of the comments equates prophetic preaching with really getting into The Issues. Personally, I've heard hundreds of sermons about issues, and just a few about Waking Up, so a really prophetic sermon for me is one that gets me all fired up about walking with Jesus and seeing where that takes you - which may be protesting the war or may be holding the hand of a young man dying of cancer. Both change the world.

3. Also, I'm reminded of my own love/hate relationship with The Sermon, which might be why I'm struggling with the preaching part of my job most right now. I mean, I love to hear to a good sermon as much as the next church geek. In fact I listened over and over to the cassette of the sermon that BBT preached at the FTE conference in, I think, 1998 (is that the year More Cows? do you remember that one? about how we were called to be Peter, not Jesus? it sounds obvious now, but at the time I thought I would die from relief.). But honestly, we know so much more about how people take in information now that we used to, and sitting and listening to someone else talk for 20 minutes (or even 12!) is just about the worst way there is to learn anything. I try to have people do stuff when I preach just to engage their other senses (have a drama, get them to talk to each other, walk around and look at pictures, close their eyes and pray, tie a piece of string, whatever) but it doesn't always work out and sometimes even that feels a little gimmicky or something.

4. Which is why I'm planning to go to the Festival of Homiletics in May -- it seems that a new sermon is pretty much expected every week, and having run through my Greatest Hits, I'm looking for inspiration. Any of ya'll planning to go? It would be good to see your faces.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It's December, and I usually hardly blog in December

Great things about being me right now:

Today, I casually suggested to my Tuesday morning Bible Study that we have a "holiday" party next week, since "after that we will not meet for three weeks." They are so on to me. I didn't know they knew it, but they already knew that next Tuesday is my birthday and were, I think, already planning a little something..

I'm thinking about my birthday alot, since a new laptop is in the mail thanks to the World's Greatest Husband.

E's birthday present to me is that I'm making him get dressed up and come with me to the community center's Mommy and Me dance for 4-7 year olds.

I just learned that toilet paper is counted as a household expense by the IRS. But you alreday knew that.

Ok, I was already to end this post with something Deep about the True Meaning of Christmas, but I got nothing. As you were.