Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Five is In the Garage

RevGal Friday Five: Garage Sale Lovin'

1) Are you a garage saler?
I enjoy them as a fun thing to do on a nice summer's day. But I am not hard core garage saler.

2) If so, are you an immediate buyer or a risk taker who comes back later when prices are lower?
I'm an immediate buyer. If it's something I want, I go for it!

3) Seriously, if you're not a garage saler, you are probably not going to want to play this one.(That wasn't really #3.) 3) This is the real #3: What's the best treasure you've found at a yard or garage sale?
I haven't found anything really fabulous. But I have found some great clothes for my daughter (it's a great feeling to pay a quarter for a great pair of jeans for her instead of $10 at the store!)

4)If you've done one yourself, at church or at home, was it worth the effort?
I've helped do one at church. They are SO MUCH work, especially the clean up afterwards, and we didn't make enough to make all that work worth it. Other fundraisers are much more effective! I've never done one at home because I've never lived anywhere that a garage sale would work. Though I certainly have enough stuff for one!!!

5) Can you bring yourself to haggle?
No, not really. It makes me uncomfortable, and I end up blathering.

BONUS: For the true aficionado: Please discuss the impact of Ebay, Craig's List, Freecycle, etc... on the church or home yard/garage sale.
I've found a few things on Ebay, but have not explored the other options. I think they've just made the general public put more value in our junk. Though, I love the idea of Freecycle. Recycling our stuff by passing it on for free to someone who could use it is a great idea.

Tomorrow Lil' Princess and I will be starting our garage sale season by going to an all-city garage sale in the town down the road. We're going with a fun family from one of the churches, and making a day of it. There are more places to go to than you can get to in one day, so we'll have to figure out our plan of attack. The town publishes a map, with a list of the main types of items each site has, so we'll have our treasure map to follow as we whiz around town. Should be a fun way to jump into garage sale-ing.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


-gracious and caring
-loved quilting and embroidery
-hard working, could always count on her
-devoted to family, to her husband
-loved to have fun, to laugh, have joy in life
-generous and big hearted
-cared about her church and its ministry
-believed Jesus is her Savior, put her trust in God

Cancer does not win. Death is not the last word.

Delores was a good friend, and God's child in life.

Delores is still my sister in faith, and even more God's child now, as she enters eternal life.

God bless her and keep her.
God make his face shine upon her and be gracious to her.
God look upon her with favor, and grant her peace. Amen.

Goodbye, Delores. I'll miss you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Down to the Top Four

OK, I admit my addiction.
I feel that much of so-called "Reality" television is the pond scum of the broadcasting world.
BUT...I am a devoted follower of Top Chef. From the very beginning! (I was totally thrilled with who won in season 1, but the last two season, my favorites have gotten close but haven't won.) Tonight's episode in Season 4 has brought us down to the final four. Now come the finals in Puerto Rico! I'm pumped!
I have no idea how this addiction came to be. I'm a poor cook, and know very little about gourmet cooking, but I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about it, and watching the challenges. The personalities, the chef skills, the kinds of foods I've never heard of before, the food arranged artistically on the plates, the terms I can't pronounce...I love it!
And maybe (just maybe) it will inspire me to learn how to cook more interesting meals than tacos, baked chicken, or cheesy noodle hotdish.
I can hope.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Founded on Rock

"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell - and great was its fall!" Matthew 7:24-27
This Sunday will be Affirmation of Baptism for two young women in the parish. I hope and pray that we have pointed them, with the Holy Spirit's guidance, towards the rock foundation.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

In honor of those who served and died.

In honor of those who served and live with wounds; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

In honor of those who serve now.

God bless. May peace come.

Today my tiny community hosted their annual Memorial Day celebration. About 50 people attended, with 7 veterans taking on the various duties. I was the speaker for the event, which was a first for me. I have done prayers for these kinds of events before, but have never been asked to do an address also. I've always been concerned about keeping clear the line between faith and patriotism, since many churches seem to have lost that distinction, but I felt it was appropriate for a person of faith, and a person who has buried some of this community's veterans, to speak. It was nice to get to sing some of those old patriotic songs, like "America the Beautiful." It was sad to see the empty chair, with the POW/MIA black cover on the back.

On the way out to the cemetery, RevDad and I were trying to explain to Lil' Princess what these activities were all about, and to warn her about the upcoming gunfire. She asked alot of questions, and will be asking more in the days to come, I am sure. The ceremony at the cemetery was short - I prayed, a young woman played "Taps" on her trumpet, and the veterans did the gun salute, with three shots. The shots always make me wince, as they do for many others. But that's good. They're a reminder of the reality of war, and the real danger soldiers face. And the deaths that we commemorated today.

Afterwards we all had sandwiches and pie, and connected as a community. The children played, the adults discussed/gossiped, and much coffee was drunk on this cold and windy day. We've all moved on since then to other activities for the day, gotten on with things. But we remember.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Quilted Splendour

One is solid white and red/white plaid blocks. The other has large floral blocks edged with small blocks, in yellows greens and whites.

They were created by the faithful quilting women of the largest of the three churches in my parish. They put together over 100 quilts this year, and made 13 to be put in the annual silent auction, with the money raised going towards Bible camp ministry. The bidding for a few was quite lively, with some good-natured ribbing among the ladies. The bidding ended at 11:15 am this morning, and I actually managed to win these two. I didn't TRY to get the REAlly popular ones, I am no where close to being in the same league with some of these ladies when it comes to competitive auctions!!!

Our two new lovely quilts will keep us snuggly as the cold winds continue to blow this week, and will brighten up our home too. Quilting ladies rock!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Night Sermon Thinking

Lilies and birds of the air.

Wealth and worry.

What are these to us? In this day and age, can we hear Jesus' prescription for our lives in the kingdom and see how it can have anything to do with us? Pursuit of wealth is the meaning of our lives, and worry is the adrenaline in our veins. Considering the lilies and birds of the air are for those rare fleeting moments we might take a vacation or a deep breath.

This is the challenge of this Sunday's Gospel text - proclaiming Jesus' words, and shining light on what they mean for us now, and showing the freedom and life they are meant to give us. Given our culture, given our selfishness, this can be a tough one. Come Holy Spirit!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Five

RevGal's Friday Five gets me in the moooooooooood for vacation.

1. Getting ready for summer, do you use the gradual tanning moisturizers ( yes gentlemen you too can answer this!!!), or are you happy to show your winter skin to the world?

I boldly go where the public probably wishes I wouldn't, and display my blindingly white skin. I also slather on the high SPF, and cover up most of the time, so the closest I get to a bronze glow is a farmer's tan!

2. Beach, mountains or chilling by the pool, what/ where is your favourite getaway?

As long as it includes my family, and at least some chances to curl up with a good book, I'm not picky.

3. Are you a summer lover or does the long break become wearing?

I like aspects of summer, but don't care for high temps, high humidity, and bugs that bite. So, maybe, no.

4. Active holidays; hiking swimming sailing, or lazy days?

I prefer mine to be a mix of active and relaxed. Some running around fun followed by some lazing around fun is my idea of perfect.

5. Now to the important subject of food, if you are abroad do you try the local cuisine, or do you prefer to play it safe?

I haven't been abroad much (Oh, but do I dream!), but whenever I travel I attempt to make a point of trying local cuisine. Usually it's a great experience, but you always have to be ready to stomach the...disgusting finds too. (thought the filling of something was made of cream cheese, ended up being made of stinky goat cheese, wasn't ready for the difference when I bit can imagine!)

Little Yellow Birdies

Image from Flickr

There are about 20 little yellow finches arrayed in the trees in our back yard. It's quite a stunning sight! I'm hoping to get a picture of them, but I suspect that if I open the back door, they'll fly away. It's a lovely sight on a cold windy day, though. It made RevDad and I both smile big today. Well, that, and the sight of Lil' Princess dancing her way through the house!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sick Day

The high winds of yesterday irritated my lungs, and brought the bronchitus back full force. So today was a blur, short bursts of energy to play with Lil' Princess, followed by collapses on the couch for extended periods. Poor girl, stuck with a stick-in-the-mud mommy!

RevDad rented Hairspray for me to watch, and I am enjoying it. Besides the enjoyment of the music and over-the-top story, the themes of wide-eyed optimism and standing up for fairness are refreshing. After getting all the updates every week from hubby about what's going on in the political world, and hearing about all the tragedies happening around the world, it feels good to be renewed in a little optimism and a sense that good-hearted people can make a difference.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

After the Funeral

We had the funeral today for one of sweetest women I have ever known.

It was crazy beforehand, the city had flushed some of the sewer lines this week, so the bathrooms in the church basement flooded an hour before the service and were unusable the entire time. So we had the one bathroom upstairs for the 250 people who showed for the funeral. The other event that had the possibility of being a problem was that the former pastor (who hurt alot of people and was basically kicked out of this parish) showed up at the funeral. But it ended up OK, he and the parishioners all behaved well.

The rest went well. A granddaughter and a nephew both provided special music, and sang with their hearts. The sanctuary and balcony were full, and we had about 15 people seated in the basement watching the service on video.

It was especially moving at the cemetary. They had had her cremated. One of her sons carried the small wooden box that held his mother's ashes to the small hole another of her sons had dug the day before. When I gave the nod, he knelt down and put the box in the hole. As I said the traditional words "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" I sprinkled a handful of dirt over the box. From the faces of the family gathered around, I could tell they were moved and touched by this intimate service. It started to become real at that moment for many of them.

It was a good and a hard morning, with a big-hearted family surrounded by a caring community, and the Gospel was proclaimed. I am grateful.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Song of the Night

Dusky blue sky draws deeper black.
Treetops nod goodnight.
Wind sighs a long slow lullaby.
Sleep, my child, sleep.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Initial Thoughts for the Coming Sunday

"Consider the lilies of the field..."

This is the Gospel text for this Sunday. I find it interesting to consider that image, and that promise, at the same time that I prepare for a funeral on Wednesday for a woman who died very unexpectedly this weekend of an accident. A woman, by the way, who loved to garden, and who did trust in God's care.

The family is handling it pretty well, but I'm not sure how much of that is still shock. When the reality of it sets in, they will have questions. One of her sons and his family attend one of my congregations. When they attend worship this Sunday, will reality have begun to set in? What will they be thinking and feeling when they hear "consider the lilies"? This sermon will require some deft handling in writing and a careful touch in preaching.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Evening

A full day. Three services. Two graduation ceremonies.

Now it is time to watch Masterpiece Theatre and listen... the wind whip around the yard... the sound of Lil' Princess finding excuse after excuse to delay sleep... the sound of RevDad moving about the kitchen, loading the dishwasher (bless him!)... the sound of my own sigh as I - finally - relax.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sad Day

A sweet, sweet lady from my congregation died today. She lost her balance in front of a store in town yesterday around 3:30 pm, and landed on the back of her head. Skull fracture led to swelling, pressure, blood clots, and around 6:30 pm today, death. It was so quick, and so shocking.

I had a message waiting for me when I got back from that hospital visit that an elderly member of another of my congregations is finally losing his battle with cancer. I will go tomorrow to give him his last communion, and plan his funeral with his family.

One death a shock, one long expected. Both families gathering, as I type, to grieve, support one another, and come to terms with the new reality.

I'm sad tonight, yet grateful that I and these congregations have something real and precious to offer these families in this hard time, and in the days to come. So come the morning, love and support and ministry will begin to flow, in the form of phone calls, hugs, hotdishes, brownies, etc. And I will be among them, speaking Christ's name and salvation. And giving hugs too.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Diagnosis


That's the word from the doc as to why I've been hacking up my lungs and sounding like a chain smoker when I talk.

O joy.

Hopefully the antibiotics will take care of it, and I can start sounding and feeling normal again. I just can't help remembering the last time I had bronchitis, when I was in seminary, when it lasted for two months.

But that is not the way it's going to work! Oh no! I shall be full of energy! Full of enthusiasm! By Sunday I will be ready for three services, two graduation ceremonies, and three graduation receptions! No problem!

We'll see how far the power of positive thinking and a few antibiotic tablets can get me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Great Commission Thoughts

Just got done with the baccalaureate service, which ended up being quite nice. I was nervous about preaching, since I've been sick today, and I'm new in the area. I ended up going the humorous route for the sermon, keeping the message simple, and the images memorable. They liked it. And I'm glad it's done!

There were a couple of typos in the bulletin, as often can happen. The one that really caught my attention was the punctuation on the last sentence in the statement of faith - "God asks each of us to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, as the Savior of the world?" It made me think - Like, do we really mean this? Are we sure? Are we committed to this? As we send these kids out into the world, do they get this? Or is the message they've gotten been, "be a nice person" and the rest is just background noise? As we consider the Great Commission for our Gospel text this Sunday, I wonder if we feel much intensity about sharing the hope and faith that is within us to the world.

Or are we too busy doing what we want, when we want, and seeing & using God as another source of our personal preferance fulfillment.

I don't want this all to become a rant about our selfishness, I just think that periodically we need to be reminded that talking the talk and walking the walk are not the same thing, and BOTH need to happen.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

First Thought on Trinity Sunday - Children's Sermon on the Creation Story

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. In the center, the Creation of Adam

This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. We have an interesting combination of texts. The first lesson is the first chapter of Genesis, and the Gospel lesson is the Great Commission in Matthew 28.

The children's sermon is the only thing I have planned out for sure. Since the first lesson is so long, and isn't even printed in our lessons insert for the bulletin, I'm going to read a version of the creation story to the kids. It's called "In the Beginning", the creation story retold by Steve Turner, illustrations by Jill Newton. It is a wonderful book, with incredible pictures. It's a very accessable and enjoyable way for all ages to experience the story, especially if the reader gives it some umph. I want to spend some time emphasizing the delight and joy of creation.

I'm not sure where I'll go with the sermon yet, or how the children's sermon will connect, but I feel strongly that a creation celebration is in order for at least a portion of message.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Too Much in My Head

Headache day...arghgle!

So much to do, I hate how the pain slows me down and clouds my thinking.

Tonight we have the high school band and choir concert to go to, which I would like to ENJOY rather than ENDURE.

On the bright side (and I will find one, out of sheer desperation if necessary) before the advent of head-crushing pain we had a lovely lunch together today in a nearby town, since RevDad needed to pick up his prescription. Lil' Princess used some of her birthday money to buy two princess books. I got to look around a nice gift-type shop I had never been in before. I'm glad we had that little slice of lovely time today.

The Things That Are On My Mind:
1. I need to call my dear friend back in Madtown and apologize PROFUSELY for losing my mind and missing her birthday.
2. I need to fill out and mail some forms ASAP.
3. I need to get ahold of all the confirmation parents and the heads of the Sons of Norway group to reschedule ditch cleaning for next week, since this week will be too cold and wet. (how awesome that it is TOO WET!!!!! to clean ditches!)
4. I need to plan a lock-in for the confirmation students, God please help me.
5. I need to write a baccalaureate (sp?) speech for this Wednesday.
6. I need to rethink worship for the last Sunday in May, since the pianist at one of my churches will be gone.
7. I need to start thinking about confirmation worship service and Centennial worship service.
8. Sermon. 'nuff said.
9. I need to very soon find out what options there are for Lil' Princess for summer rec in our area.
10. I need to figure out how to get some quality time with my hubby. Soon!
11. I need to get together with the students who will be getting confirmed this year and go through their faith statements with them.
12. I need to go to the doctor and find out why I have had this cough for two weeks that has been taking my voice away.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another Saturday Night

I'm sitting at my computer, drawing a blank for tomorrow's sermon.

I can hear my daughter READING in her bedroom. This is incredible, considering the fact that she has never read before. We got her the Bob books, and boy do they work! She's taken off with them like crazy!

My parents are quietly reading in the living room, relieved to be done driving for today. My husband is puttering around the house.

And still I stare at the computer screen.

I dearly wish my creativity would come back! Inspiration, where art thou?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Princess Birthday Cake

Here it is, only posted a week late, my attempt at a princess birthday cake for our five-year old. It tasted yummy, and she thought it was pretty, so I'd count it as a success! I got the castle candle and princess characters through Oriental Trading.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Pentecost Sermon Notes

Children's Sermon: Fire Kite

I have a kite that is decorated with bright red flames. I'm going to use this to talk to the children about how the Holy Spirit is visualized as wind, and flame, as Holy force moving. We don't see the Spirit, but see its effects. We're VERY well acquainted with wind out here, so I think the imagery will work for them. I'm going to swoosh the kite above and around them, perch it on a few of their heads, keep it unexpected and random.

Sermon Thoughts:

Faith as a verb. The Action aspect of our life of discipleship (last week I talked about the "waiting on the Lord" aspect of discipleship). Holy Spirit giving us what is needed for the tasks God gives. Trusting in that, stepping out of the room, and flowing with the Spirit's leading.

Need to develop more here, sermon hasn't gone far. We tend to undervalue or ignore the Holy Spirit, so trying to think about how to make it more discernable/understandable. Emphasize the importance of the work of the Spirit!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Water Dance of the Hippos

At the St. Louis Zoo

I love her expression - "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful!"
The St. Louis Zoo is WONderful. Check it out if you're ever in the vicinity!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sabbath Rest

Quiet Sunday afternoon.

Sabbath rest is usually something I have NO chance to enjoy. But today, I get a taste. Lil' P is watching "Cinderella 2" with my mom. My dad and I are stretched out in the living room, looking out at the warm sunny day, enjoying the birds singing, chatting a little, sharing what's on our hearts. And resting.

Ahh, it's good.

We've both decided that a nap is a delicious idea, so I'll drift away to dreams with the song of birds in my ears and the contentment of family around me in my heart.

My cup overflows.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Blessing of Sunday School Teachers

Below is a very simple blessing I wrote for this year's closing of Sunday school and blessing & thanks of Sunday school teachers. We're going to call the teachers forward where the kids will all be waiting, and the smaller children are all going to take a line of the litany (it's a small Sunday school). Then the kids will present the teachers with gifts and hugs. This all will take place before the Prayers of the People, so the theme can continue into the time of prayer.

Leader: Today we bring our year of Sunday school to a close.

Child: We give thanks for our teachers,

Child: who spent their time with us,

Child: who taught us stories from the Bible

Child: and about the great love of Jesus.

Child: God loves you.

Child: And so do we!

Leader: We thank God for the blessings of this Sunday school year and for the people who answered God’s call to teach. Let’s show our thanks with a round of applause!

Parental Units

The Parents Have Landed!

My folks have made their way from their winter home, to my brothers, now to our place. They are sick of driving! Lil' Princess was thrilled when they arrived, and had to show them all her birthday presents. It was tough to get her to bed, she finally agreed when Grandma said she would tuck her in and read her a book.

It's so good to have them here. We're sitting around, talking, laughing, swapping stories, enjoying the company. I'm just soaking it in. We have them for just a few days, so it's precious time!

I also should get my sermon written, durn it anyway. Inspiration, where are youuuuu?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Working on Ascension Sermon

Time to GET SERIOUS about Sunday's sermon.

RevDad is focusing on the theme of Jesus' actions shining glory on God, and how we continue to do this beautiful work after his Ascension. This is a part of our calling as disciples. His sermon is still a work in progress, but that's the direction he's taking.

I'm still fixed on the thought of what Jesus' Ascension means for us. Why do we need to care? What does it mean to us? I've been thinking - Jesus' Ascension allows us (us as the body of Christ), invites us, pushes us, requires us to step out. Jesus is not confined to one place and time, and neither is the church. We're not just about getting together and drinking coffee once a week. We're about living in the kingdom, showing God's glory, and speaking the Gospel. The Ascension reminds us of the Bigger Picture, pulls us out of our complascency, and says that something amazing is happening around and through us. And it also gets us ready for Pentecost.

Not sure how to preach it. With Lil' Princess' b-day party tomorrow, there won't be much time to work on it. Holy Spirit, grant me inspiration!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Sweet Birthday Girl

Today my darling Lil' Princess turned 5!!!

The big event for the day was going to the nearest big shopping town so that Lil' P could pick out her Big Girl Bike. It was a big deal! I had a "whoa" moment as I held her steady on the bike as she tried it out in the store. It's such a big bike, I thought. How can I have a child big enough for this bike?

Today she declared that since she is now a big girl, she is going to get dressed totally on her own, pour her own juice, and a variety of other independant declarations. We have been working and working to get her to this point with these things, so its Great to hear her saying these things.


My little girl!
So growing in tall...
My baby is gone. This mama is quietly mourning that fact even as I celebrate the girl that is vibrantly emerging and dancing through our lives.

Happy 5th Birthday, my miracle baby. Mommy loves you!