Friday, February 29, 2008
-Lost a pound, so I'm over 10 gone now, which seems significant.
-Got the Science Fair project to school on time and it was neither the goofiest nor the most patently parent-done piece of work in the kindergarten section.
-Spent most of the day outside. Ripping up ivy (4 30 gallon bags full!) is good therapy.
-Biked with E to school. It's a little ways and this is a first for us, but it's definately do-able.
-Received ots of nice notes from friends virtual and real. (Thanks all!)
-Got this picture via email. Yes, that is Chelsea with my brother. What we learned from this short exchange is that Hillary also makes a good banana bread. I've been pretty much pro-Obama til now, but that piece of information might be a deal breaker. Because if banana bread can't save the world, really what can?
Thursday, February 28, 2008
after THAT day,
I turned out of the church parking lot and got behind a school bus that at 8:24 pm was letting people OUT and stopping all traffic to do so; turned left onto the freeway away from the bus and got behind cars going 28 in the 35 mile an hour zone; stopped at Trader Joes for bananas (because I'm DAMNED if I'm going to make a special trip on my day off tomorrow for one thing), turned left out the lot and got right behind the street sweeper, making his ponderous rounds; and thought,
Some days are like that. But at least you can blog about it.
*Is it still plagarizing if I say "Thanks Judith Viorst."?
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Here is why John Thomas is MY president:
"The very fact of an IRS investigation, however, is disturbing," Thomas said. "When the invitation to an elected public official to speak to the national meeting of his own church family is called into question, it has a chilling effect on every religious community that seeks to encourage politicians and church members to thoughtfully relate their personal faith to their public responsibilities."Read the whole article here.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
My parents divorced when I was in my early 20's. They both re-married rather quickly. My dad was married to a woman with three children, all of whom were also young adults. My mom married a man with four teenage boys. Later, my dad divorced and married again, this time to a woman with four grown children.
Friends, that's a lot of people to keep track of, especially when you count in the spouses or partners and children of all this far flung family. Some of them I've literally only met once and others I've never even spoken to, so usually I don't try all that hard to keep track, except to occasionally ask "how are they doing" when I talk to one of my folks.
The other day, though, out of the blue, I got a call from one of my ex-stepsisters, who wanted to know what it's like to date a guy in a wheelchair, which is something I have some experience in. We had a frank and friendly conversation, especially considering it was the first time we'd spoken in at least 8 years and maybe more.
Later, it occurred to me that, among all these stepsibs, we probably know a little bit about just about everything there is to know in the world. In our midst are - just to name a few - a film-maker, an elite marathoner, a building contractor, a policeman, a medical student, an elementary school teacher, a ski equipment guru, a lawyer and two clergy. Some of us have traveled widely. Others are voracious readers. Almost all of us have had fascinating dating lives. We're like our own brain trust.
I'm thinking that we should start a reality show, where all 15 of us, plus the family we've collected along the way, live in a big house somewhere, and people call us up and ask for advice and we pass the phone around until we find the person who can answer it. And, in between calls, we could play rounds of "stop poking me" and "mom always liked you best" and all the other games we never bonded over since we didn't have childhoods together.
Ok, gotta go. I'm waiting for the networks to call. Any minute now.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
We lived in Seattle for 8 years, and I always felt unsettled there. I always had some reason - I was in school; or we lived in apartments managed by either the nosiest woman on the planet or a crack dealer; or we were having a baby and I didnt know anyone else with babies; or we were the only renters in a block full of people who owned their houses; or we hadnt found the perfect Christian community to live in; or I was only working part-time; or I didnt live on my cool friend's Mayberry street, where the neighbors all know each other and actually are friends; or something. There was a just a something-is-not-right hum that always played softly under any other song I was singing.
Like E's asthma, that unsettled feeling has totally disappeared since we moved to Portland. I just know, with all my heart, that we are all in the right place and I dont have that bad hum of someone who's grokking a wrongness. It is remarkable. I thought maybe discontent was just a facet of my adult personality, but it turns our that it was only my personality as long as I was in the wrong place.
After 6 months of staring at a computer screen as a telecommuter, J had a great day back at the MIRE office yesterday, remembering what he enjoyed about the friends he had there. He heard more about the fancy new offices he's not going to get to move into and about a better job that could have been his if only.... So it's not a move without sacrifice. Tonight I'm so grateful that I share my life with a man who's willing, eager even, to let go of some his own dreams to build a new one together, even if it doesnt look anything like what we might have imagined.
Friday, February 22, 2008
"....how about we share five "heavenly" things? These can me serious or funny or a combination of the two. What is your idea of a heavenly (i.e. wonderful and perfect)"
1. Family get-together
Hmmm, to give or to receive? Well, I'll go with to give - I always love to give someone a book that they haven't read, and that they will really enjoy. I guess that is what I love to receive, too.
Are you tired of me talking about the spa? Because a day at the spa would probably be it.
I know we get to go be with God. I sure dont know what that's like. But I'm curious about it in a good way - I look forward to the next adventure. Favorite song about heaven:
I believe my steps are growing wearier each day
Still I've got a journey on my mind
Lures of this old world have ceased to make me wanna stay
And my one regret is leaving you behind.
If it proves to be his will that I am first to go
And somehow I'll be feeling it will be
When it comes your times to travel like wise don't feel lost
For I will be the first one that you'll see.
I'll be sitting, drawing pictures in the sand
And when I see you coming I will rise up with a shout
And come running through the shallow waters, reaching for your hand.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Weightwatchers: Down 8.6, up .6 for a total of down 8. As usual, I'm not astonished by how awesome this is, but it doesnt totally bum me out, either. I seem to be mostly sticking with it. And last night I dreamed I turned down a donut! Which is definately a sign of health of some kind, even if only in my subconscious.
Sleep: Last week, I set a new record for sleep. Tuesday - slept all day and all night. Weds, Thurs - slept regular. Friday - slept 10 hours. Saturday - slept 4 hours (curse you late night sermon writing habit). Sunday - slept 10 hours. I would like to balance this out and sleep like an actual 8 hours most every night. But I seem to have to pay off this sleep debt I've built up first.
Exercise: Mostly doing ok with walking some, and today excellent since I BIKED for an HOUR.
Ouchies: headache, occasional and managable; plantar faciitis, getting much better; unbloggable thing, not getting better or worse.
Sun: Shining! For two days in a row! Probably the best health news of all!
Arent you glad I'm blogging every day? I'm so fascinating now.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Anyway, we had a warm day today (I dont know if it actually got up to 60 degrees, but it felt good out there in the sun) and I spent an hour pulling ivy, the kind of work I like, and dreaming about what to do with the perfect lovely little vegetable garden spot that's all set up.
I think Im going to try 3 sisters. Plus carrots. Those seem like kid vegetables that I should be able to handle. And, maybe if I'm feeling really ambitious, lettuce. E wants a blueberry bush, but I just dont know. Somehow that sounds tricky.
Now, if only I keep the neighbors ivy, holly and blackberry over on the other side of the fence somehow.
And I notice this isnt sounding at all like the post of a gal who cant keep a garden. Stay tuned - maybe this is my summer to tell a new story.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
E's bike got a flat tire when we were out for our ride today, and he had to walk it a long a way back. I want to tell a good story about that, something uplifting or inspiring, but sometimes isnt life just like that? Sometimes you just have to walk back. I was, however, delighted when he said he was sad that he couldnt bike home. He had a feeling! And he knew what it was! And then he said it! I was, like 34 years old before I could do that.
Also he cracked me up in the bike shop where we went to get the tire fixed about the biking gloves he wanted, "I have my GERMS on them! I'm TOUCHING them! I have to get them NOW!" Speaking of things we had to do, I had to hide behind the rack of those shiny gym shorts to laugh. He did not get the gloves.
Since most of my winter posts in past years have been hour by hour updates on E's athsma (which I NEVER can spell), now that he has no. athsma., I have nothing to write about. He really did outgrow it, just like they said he would. Weird.
Talk among yourselves about how sometimes being a pastor means going out in one night to three different dinners that other people have totally organized and cooked for, and how bad that is for your weight watchers points, and how good it is for your psyche. Small groups kicked off tonight, and judging by the 3 I visited it was a good success. I had a conversation I've been wanting to have for awhile and it went well, I think.
Friday, February 15, 2008
When and where were you baptized? Do you remember it? Know any interesting tidbits?
I must have been baptized when I was a baby - my mom says probably my grandpa did it in Ohio - but there's no pictures or certificate or anything from that one. It's always vaguely bugged me that I got confirmed and then ordained without really knowing for sure that I was baptized. So, when I was getting ready to move out of Seattle last summer, a group of women baptized me (perhaps for a second time?) in a back yard. It was truly beautiful, if not exactly orthodox. Our church doctrine is pretty clear about baptizing a second time (dont do it), but when I've asked people if they remember their baptism, I'm always astonished to hear how many of our folks have been baptised more than once. Personally, I'd have to say that I'm more laid back than the doctrine is on this one.
What's the most unexpected thing you've ever witnessed at a baptism?
Hmm, I dont have any of those "the baby threw my glasses into the water" kind of stories. I have an embarrassing story from my internship, but I dont know if I want to tell it here. Ok, I will. I helped baptize a baby and I sobbed thru the whole thing. I was kind of more of a weeper then. The family looked so concerned. I feel bad about it to this day that I gave them any reason to wonder what the crazy intern might do. Anyway, afterward, the pastor gave me a hanky and I said, "oh my GOD. I'm going to be a PASTOR." And she said, very sweetly and kindly, "You already are." It was a real confirmation of ministry, even if I still want to apologize to that family every time I see them.
Does your congregation have any special traditions surrounding baptisms?
I have not done a baptism here, so I dont know, but I'm really looking forward to it!
Are you a godparent or baptismal sponsor? Have a story to tell?
I am a godmother to a beautiful baby (now a big toddler) girl and her Catholic baptism was so lovely and different than anything I'd experienced before. I got to hold her when her head was all shiny and beautifully scented from oil. The jacket I wore that day was oiled, too, and a spot still shows. I sometimes think I should get rid of that jacket, but I love taking it out and remembering that day, so I dont.
Do you have a favorite baptismal song or hymn?s
"Child of Blessing, Child of Promise" which for some reason I cannot remember the words to right now. What am I doing in a house without a hymn book? Goodness, I AM heretical.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Went home for lunch, exchanged presents with J (SUPER cool earrings!) and decided to work at home for the afternoon. Don't I have the dreamiest job EVER?
Probably a dozen people in my church have major health things going on, and that's a lot in a congregation of 80 or so. Instead of visiting, as I had planned, I sat on my couch and made lots of phone calls and heard lots of stories and said, "I'll come see you soon, I just have this little cold right now and I dont want to give it to you." Everyone was delighted, I connected with lots of folks and I did not have to run all over creation. Doh. I feel like so 1937: "Say, Bessie! Have you seen this new telephone machine? Why, I can talk to you from a whole different building! What a time saver!"
I felt a lot better after that.
Got into the car to go to therapy (I had my list at the ready) and got a call from the therapist that she had to cancel, so I just sat in the car and made more calls for an hour. J and E were very surprised that I was "back so early" and even more surprised -- and giggly -- when I told them I'd been in the driveway the whole time. Sometimes you gotta take your room of your own wherever you can.
Called for pizza and while waiting for it, cleaned E's room, which had seriously gotten trashed. Found an overdue library book. Did not find the pencil sharpener for all his Valentine's Day pencils. Pencils are evidently the new chocolate for the kindergarten set.
Tidied the living room too. I can now sit on the couch without bruising any of my tender parts on a poky corner of The Star Wars Encyclopedia. Ahhh.
Had my favorite Valentine moment of the day, when E hid behind me to give one of his Valentines Day suckers (which I did NOT throw away. I'm thinking of all those teeth he has still to lose) to the pizza guy who either had smoked a bowl on the way over or, dude, has to have a serious talk with his Claritin provider about those red, itchy, allergy eyes. Pizza Stoner Guy was so delighted! It was his only Valentine present today and he really meant it when he said thanks. Sweet.
Ate the pizza, drank an unusual couple of glasses of wine (the grown-ups that is), played a lively game of Chutes and Ladders and agreed it was pretty much the perfect Valentine's Day for where we are right now. Other years have been more about another kind of romance, and will be again, but for now this suits us.
My favorite part of Valentine's Day, in the not so distant past, was making cards for everyone I knew and sending them to arrive on time. I'm assuming that I will do that again sometime, but this year is not that year. So consider yourself Happy Valentine-d via electronics instead.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Which is weird, because I really liked writing sermons when I was an associate and preached like every six weeks, and it's the kind of work you'd think I'd like - lots of reading and researching and praying and idea generation and writing. I LIKE doing all that stuff. And I like the actual preaching, too, and I get good feedback on my sermons generally, from most people. So. What is the PROBLEM?
I just cant seem to make time for it. There are so many other interesting things to do. Drive an hour to visit a guy at the VA? Check. Paint faces at the Valentine Party the church people throw for the preschool that rents from us? Check. Shoot the breeeze with the custodian? Check. Have meetings every single fricking night? Check. Well, you get the idea. And so often by the end of the week, I'm just totally out of time, and tired, honey.
So, I've been thinking if only I had a METHOD I would be a lot better, so I've tried different things every week - reading the passage on Sunday nights, copying the passage out and posting it everywhere (hat tip to ppb for that idea), studying all day on Monday (as per more cows. full disclosure - I havent actually done that studying all day thing but fretted a lot about it).
Well, my sd advised me against getting all hung about a method, and instead to 1. be authentic and 2. to get clearer about my intention - which is to meet the folks where the need is. This is a lot easier for me than trying to force myself into other people's study habits, and last week's sermon came much easier, and this one is working out better already, too. It doens't matter if I write it a different way every week (not on a schedule) and it doesnt matter, either, if I come up with a different product at the end every time (sometimes a manuscript, sometimes from notes, etc...). What matters is the authenticity and the intention. Which is probably the same for pretty much any creative endeavor, dont you think?
I hope I can keep remembering this: be authentic and be clear about your intention. Seems like that's probably good advice for, oh, every other situation in life, not just the sermon thing. See why I like my spiritual director so much?
*Did I mention that although my spiritual director lives three and half hours north, she comes through town sometimes so we still have an appointment about once a month? Which is INCREDIBLY great.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Before your God.
Let your God
Look upon you.
That is all.
God loves you
With an enormous love,
And only wants
To look upon you
With that love.
Let your God-
Let Your God Love You from Psalms of a Laywoman by Edwina Gately
....I didnt mean that I intended to wake at 6:30, get E up and ready for school, call in sick, sleep for 4 hours, eat lunch and then sleep for two more hours. It is now 2:13 pm, and my main accomplishment today is sleep. That is ONE way to be quiet, I guess.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Practically perfect in every way. Run, don't walk, to get a copy of your own.
The Careful Use of Compliments: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel
Lately, I've had good luck with the parent-of-small-child library method. That is to say, walking by the "new items" shelf and picking something up, almost without looking. I didnt really care about the Ladies Detective Whateveritis back when everyone was into that, but this one I enjoyed. The heroine is a single mother but rich and so she has Help! Also, she's smart and eccentric enough to be interesting. It has one of those babies you only find in books and movies who appears in time to make the plot move ahead, or to do something adorable, but otherwise causes no trouble. This was not as irritating as it sometimes is. There was a sort of a mystery to be solved and some low-key emotional turmoil, but this was accomplished with the minimum of fuss. Mostly, a gentle and enjoyable read. And quick -- for those of you trying to whiz through a bunch of books this year.
Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
This book is bound to give you at least one trick for your preaching (if you do that) or your marketing or your talking to people if that is more your bag. And even if you don't need any good tricks, it's got loads of great stories in it. I know I'll turn to this one again. One funny problem I have with this book is that I can never remember the title. Which is an interesting issue for a book that is supposed to be all about, you know, remembering things.
Less than Angels
Thanks to Songbird, I remembered Barbara Pym, so I checked this out of the library. I gave away almost all my stuff to move to Seattle 10 years ago and I hardly ever regret it, except when I think about Pym, so I try not think of her. See how well repression works? Speaking of repression, some people compare Pym to Jane Austen. Will you think I'm lowbrow if I say I actually like Pym more? The characters are funny, dear, smart and compelling - they are people you'd want to know. And after reading this you'll feel like you do. Recommended.
Of course, I love Anne Lamott. I've read Traveling Mercies 4763 times or so, and each time it opens new treasures for me. However, I havent felt that big a connection with Lamott's fiction. Was it Blue Shoes I couldnt get into at all? I cant even remember. Well, anyway I liked this one - ditto what I said about Pym's characters (funny, dear, smart, compelling). People couple and uncouple and get sick and get well and die and act badly and help each other and all the time drop the most amazing one-liners. Recommended.
Sanctuary Hill: A Bay Tanner Mystery
In my opinion, any book that begins the way this one does should have a big red label on the cover: Warning! Dead Baby Inside! Also, why does surviving gruesome and gory danger so often lead to sex in a certain genre of book? Wouldn't you rather have a nice bath instead? I would. Just to prove I don't love every single book I read, this one is NOT recommended.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
There was a large group of students and moms from a local Islamic school. You could tell them by the head scarves (moms) and nametages (kids).
I spent some time checking out my stereotypes and wondering what it means to be Muslim in this culture - is it a fearful thing? I would think so. So much seems to be arrayed against Muslims just now. This group didnt seem particularly afraid, just engaged and having fun and helping kids with meltdowns like the rest of the families. In spite of training and a fairly highly level of awareness, when I can tell What A Person Is (already an assumption), I still seem to expect that person to be that What every minute.
I also wondered, "How can people tell that I'm a Christian, in a setting like this?" And the answer, "They can't." Of course, Christian is a big label that comes with its own stereotypes, especially out here in The None Zone. Anyway, if progressive Christians had an Identifying Thing, what would you want it to be?
Then spent the rest of my day off really relaxing (facial, chiropractic treatment and a trip to the consignment store) and came home in a GREAT mood, in time to swoop up E and take him to the Fiesta De Los Ninos, a celebration of Latino culture, at his school. It was free - Mexican food, crafts and some entertainment. They were expecting 100 families. Well, when you say free dinner and tell the kids they can sing on the stage, even if it IS with a gazillion other kids, you really should expect the whole school to show. Which they did. We waited in line for an hour, which E liked since he got to goof around with his friends the triplets, while I made awkward conversation with their parents. I mean, I didnt want to be a dork and ask all the usual questions, but honestly all I wanted to say was "Triplets! My gosh! How do you do that??" Later, we ate a taco, then the kids all pushed onto the stage, sang a song in Spanish and pushed off again. After that, was a Mexican singing group, but we had to go because it was definitely bedtime.
I'm glad he's learning Spanish, even if it IS at this point counting to 7 and singing one song. When I learned Spanish in northern Minnesota, I don't think I'd ever really known a real live Spanish speaker. Learning the language in 7th grade was kind of a stunner. Now, whatever other stuff he has about school, that part of learning a language will not be it.
Ok, off to lead a women's retreat now.
First, a note, from E himself:
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Wish me luck. Or pray for me, if that's more you style.
Here's Number 1.
As requested - an Elijahlogue.
We are at the dinner table. Food has been eaten and we are talking about love.
Dad: Hmmm, I love you honey.
Mom: I love you too.
Dad and Mom: ((smooch))
Mom: (to son) I hope one day, if you want to, that you find someone special to love and that you love each other as much as me and daddy do.
E: (brightly) Well! The early bird gets the worm!
Sunday, February 03, 2008
The world's most boring blog continues apace.