Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Goodies Can Bite Back!


One of the families in my parish makes the BEST popcorn balls. I have eaten two of them. Plus several small size candy bars. And some Tootsie Rolls. After I'd eaten some pizza for supper. To finish off the food orgy, I ate some tortilla chips with cheese dip hubby brought home.


The trick-or-treating was fun until the last 20 minutes or so, when Lil' Princess turned up the whining and exasperating meter to high. Which was a good signal that we were done. She and hubby then enjoyed handing out candy while I recovered my good humor. And ate my way through the rest of the evening.


I think I will have some very funky dreams tonight!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Happy Halloween!

I hope for you...

lots of giggling children that draw you into their make-believe world for just one night

enough candy left over to tantalize your sweet tooth but not sicken your tummy

a sense of joy in the season of autumn

a small break from the weight of election nattering and economy woes

Lil' Princess and I will be going out dressed as black cats while its still light, then coming home and handing out candy once its dark. She's excited for the Halloween party and parade at school. If I can, I'm going to go over to her school and peeking in for the parade. Too much fun to miss!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An Unfamiliar Wednesday

So I'm sitting here watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with my father-in-law and my hubby, while Lil' Princess dreams away. It's an odd feeling to be able to watch a non-children's movie, and know that I don't need to worry about getting anyone up early tomorrow morning. It's nice to look forward to some fun family stuff tomorrow along with the visits I need to get done. We're going to carve pumpkins, and bake & decorate cookies. From there, we'll see what else happens!

Pa-in-law and I had a good shopping trip today, I ended up with two shopping carts worth of stuff at Walmart. The cupboards are full now! It was nice to have some time together, too, just to chat. It was a perfect day to be out.

Grateful for your mercies, your children bless your name, oh Lord!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Unexpected Time

Sooo...the plans were set for this weekend, of taking youth to the Lutheran Youth Organization gathering, leave Thursday early, get back Saturday late. Getting the bulletin done early, and making the copies by Wednesday since my secretary will be gone, and can't do it. Getting my sermon prepped and ready before I go. Hubby's dad arriving today to help out watching Lil' Princess while I'm gone. We're set. We're ready. I'm pumped!

And now I find out we're not going, 'cause sometimes stuff happens. There's no room in the inn for us.


Now what?

I'm bummed, 'cause it was going to be great for these youth to go to this, and I was looking forward to it too, and connecting with other youth worker type people. But I'm also OK with it, 'cause it makes the weekend a lot less stressful.

But it raises for me an important question. Maybe not so fascinating for you, but hey, this is my internal dialoge put to blog, so there. The question is - what do I do now with this unexpected extra time? This little un-looked for section of time in my life that is no longer scheduled away? After spending some fleeting and precious time with my family this weekend, I am reluctant to throw these gifts of time away. So what to do?

I could organize my office and files, which is long overdue, and would make ministry more efficient. I could put in some extra visitation time, which would be greatly welcomed. I could plan All Saints, Christ the King, Advent and Christmas services (they come faster than you'd think). Or I could read one of the theological books I've been meaning to get to, as I'm short on continuing education time.


I could go fun shopping in the only big shopping town in this part of our state, several hours drive away. I could drive seven hours one way to visit friends. I could rake leaves into a big pile and jump in them with my daughter, then go in and drink hot chocolate when we get cold. I could try out a new cookie recipe. I could take a l-o-n-g lovely nap. Oooh, this list could go on and on! this one of those times when there is a little devil on one shoulder, and a little angel on the other? Whispering, "Listen to me!" "No, listen to me!"

As a good Lutheran, I embrace paradox in theology and life. Therefore, why not Both/And??? A little work, a little play, and poof! It will be Monday before you know it, and the long weekend will be over. It is nice to have Lil' P home for a few days straight, with a break from school. I want time with her, and I also want time just for myself, along with getting work done.

So. Therefore. This week (besides the bulletins and sermon) I am going to:
1. work on organizing my office (is that noise I hear the sound of my Mother celebrating?!?!?)
2. make a couple of extra visits.
3. go shopping in smaller shopping town only an hour's drive away.
4. play in the leaves and do other fun autumn things with my girl.

There's the plan. We'll see how close reality comes to words on an electronic page.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Render unto...

Time to play this week's RevGalBlogPals' Friday Five!:

"Well, Gals and Pals, this weekend we'll be rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and that has me thinking about coinage".

1) When was the last time you flipped a coin or even saw one flipped in person?
Ummmmm.....I can't remember...oh now I remember! The last jr. high volleyball game I went to, the ref and the two teams flipped a coin before the game started, I suppose to decide who served first.

2) Do you have any foreign coins in your house? If so, where are they from?
Yes, besides Canadian coins, I have a few coins left from my trip to Germany in 1989. A 50 pfennige coin for sure, anyway. Of course, it's worthless now, since the switch to the Euro.

3) A penny saved is a penny earned, they say. But let's get serious. Is there a special place in heaven for pennies, or do you think they'll find a special place in, well, the other place?
Neither! Pennies serve a purpose still, though there is a movement out there to recall them and no longer use them. We have a large wine bottle (actually, an empty Mogan David communion wine bottle) that we put all our spare change into every week, most of which ends up being pennies. Every year we use this haul to help fund our family vacation. It never adds up to more than $100, but still, it's kind of fun, especially for Lil' Princess.

4) How much did you get from the tooth fairy when you were a child? and if you have children of your own, do they get coins, or paper money? (I hear there may be some inflation.)
If I remember correctly, I got a quarter. Which was a pretty good deal, considering you could get a bottle of pop for a dime! (It was such a bummer when it went up to a quarter). We have yet to address this at our home, since none of Lil' Princess' teeth have budged. They should any time, though, since she's gotten to the right age. I'm guessing we'll do a silver dollar.

5) Did anyone in your household collect the state quarters? And did anyone in your household manage to sustain the interest required to stick with it?
No one in my household, but my mom and one brother do. She has most of them, and he has two sets, one for each of his sons. RevDad collected a few when they first started coming out, but lost interest almost right away.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happy Family Time

Zippity do da, zippity a!

My mom, dad, and oldest brother are at my house right now. My other brother and his two sons will be here in a couple of hours. Tomorrow my sister-in-law will get here.

Whoo hoo!

Pheasant hunting is what has drawn them all here. Some of my wonderful parishioners are letting them hunt on their land, so the guys are pretty excited about getting out there tomorrow morning. Since we won't be able to be together for Christmas, this is really our chance to be together as a family. My oldest brother and my sister-in-law have never been at our house, and we've been here a year now, so it's nice this has all worked out.

I'm just so very happy! And VERY sore and tired from all the cleaning...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blogging for Poverty

There are SO many ways to make a difference when it comes to poverty and all the attendant issues. It can be so overwhelming to contemplate, but if we all take part, if we all commit to taking action, we can make a difference!

Bread for the World
Compassion International
Lutheran Hunger Appeal
Heifer International just off the top of my head.

Your local food shelf, clothing closet, women's shelter, etc.

If we all would commit to giving to one or more of these kinds of organizations on a regular basis, and being vocal about these issues, and encouraging our faith communities and families to do the same, what an impact that would be!!!

Instead of squabbling about all that crap I hear on TV, instead of getting distracted by all the minuetia, lets do what matters!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Are You In?

Bloggers around the world are uniting to blog about poverty this Wednesday in order to raise awareness. I'm in! Are you?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Busy Weekend


My first confirmation retreat with this parish is done! It went very well...the kids loved playing the games and learning the lessons in a more relaxed atmosphere. I love seeing them make the connections between God's Word and their lives. And I also love watching them have a blast, totally relaxed and having fun with each other. We held it out at the most remote of my churches, where there is no cell phone signals, and 30 miles to the nearest town. So no distractions!

We talked about the 10 commandments, Moses and the Hebrews wandering in the wilderness, the episode with the golden calf, and a bit about understanding law & gospel. Some of the law/gospel stuff went over their heads, but the rest seemed to make an impact. I even got to teach them some Hebrew!

Now I'm just wiped out. I only had two services today, one got cancelled due to the bad weather and bad roads (ironically, the church at which I just had the retreat), but it was still enough on top of the retreat to make me feel like a limp rag.

But it's a good kind of tired!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Dramatic Skies

Whenever a storm moves in, the skies get quite dramatic out here. You can see for many miles, so you watch the movement of almost an entire storm cell in some cases. This also means that the sunsets can be quite spectacular too. Lil' Princess and I were driving home from running errands one day, and there it was, a small dark cloud with a line of rain coming down. I though it was pretty with the sun setting behind it. Of course the picture doesn't capture it at its best, but it was lovely.

This weekend the forecast says snow, for Friday through Sunday. I'm in bit of denial about that. Especially since I have a confirmation retreat Friday night, and I was hoping to do some outdoor games. I don't know if I'm constitutionally ready for snow. Falling leaves, yes. Cooling temperatures, yes. Light jackets, yes. Snow? Not so much.

Not that we have a choice.

Say, I could probably get a sermon out of that...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tuesday Thoughts by the Window

I love the Savage Chickens cartoons. Whenever I see that a new one has been delivered to my email, I squee.

To the list this particular cartoon proposes I would add "I'm a pastor of a small rural ND parish." Eyes glaze over every time!

I went to a continuing education class at my seminary three summers ago, while I was still at my call in SD, to learn about "PR for Churches." While the whole premise of that class is offensive to some, understandibly, I did learn a few things about making my then congregation more visitor friendly and accesible (without losing focus on the cross).

Anyhoo, most of the pastors at this class were from the metropolitan and outlying area. I found it absolutely fascinating how they treated me after they found out where I was serving (their universal underlying assumption seeming to be that SD is Nowheresville USA filled with people entirely alien to them).

Either they

A) immediately ignored me and anything I had to say from then on


B) took a patronizing attitude towards me and anything I had to say.

I'm sure the response would be even more amplified now that I'm in ND, since by many, this area is seen as the last place in the world you would ever have to want to go. Which is so very, very sad!!! Why do we, as people in ministry, have such deep-rooted prejudices about people, places, and kinds of ministry?? I mean, I know we're just people too, filled with the same foibles and weaknesses, but I have run into some the worst prejudice by those who are called my peers!

So what brought this on, you ask? I was in the Post Office today, which is part of the social center of my tiny town, chatting away with a few people, and it struck me so hard..."these are such good people. People who are doing their best to raise their families and get along. People who are hungry for Christ. People who are hungry to be involved in ministry. And a huge percentage of our church in the larger sense would turn their noses up at them and at this town." The thought made me sad. And that thought reinvigorated my committment to them, and my growing peace with my role amongst them. I can't be all that they want or need, but I can journey with them, encourage them, love them, and together we can live in Christ.

In the end, isn't that what really matters?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Pain, thy name is Migraine

Ode to a Migraine


I just want it to be over with, now!!! I hate losing all this time, and time with my family, to grinding pain.

I need to be planning the confirmation retreat for this coming weekend, the National Youth Gathering fundraising meeting with the youths' parents, and getting some visits in. Instead I'm sitting here wishing that my head was disconnected from the rest of me.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Food for Thought

On one of the blog I enjoy checking out - Lutheran Chik - the blogger posted the Incredible Edible Meme. She writes, "This is a list of food and drink that someone -- I forget who -- thinks we all need to taste before we die."

I was intrigued, and read the list. I apparantly am a very sheltered person, because there are alot of things on this list that I don't even know what they are!! Anyway, I've put in bold the items the things that I myself have actually eaten. Consider yourself tagged if you read this! I'd love to hear your comments!

1. Venison. Yum! I grew up eating it, my dad and brothers went hunting every year. Venison sausage and jerky are really good, along with the steaks. I haven't had it in years now, I miss it.
2. Nettle tea.
3. Huevos rancheros.
4. Steak tartare.
5. Crocodile.
6. Black pudding. Ewwwww! No Way!
7. Cheese fondue. What doesn't taste good dipped in warm drippy cheese?
8. Carp.
9. Borscht.
10. Baba ghanoush.
11. Calamari. Good and fun, in a squeeky rubbery kind of way
12. Pho.
13. PB&J sandwich. A staple at our house, especially when it's hubby's turn to cook
14. Aloo gobi. I have no idea...
15. Hot dog from a street cart.
16. Epoisses.
17. Black truffle.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes. Shade Vineyard of Volga SD has some lovely fruit wines definately worth checking out
19. Steamed pork buns.
20. Pistachio ice cream.
21. Heirloom tomatoes.
22. Fresh wild berries.
23. Foie gras.
24. Rice and beans.
25. Brawn, or headcheese.
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper.
27. Dulce de leche.
28. Oysters.
29. Baklava.
30. Bagna cauda. Another I have noooo idea....
31. Wasabi peas. Oh yeh, these will wake ya up
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl. Ooh yum.
33. Salted lassi.
34. Sauerkraut. Yes, but can't say I enjoyed it all that much
35. Root beer float.
36. Cognac with a fat cigar. Ick!
37. Clotted cream tea.
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O. C'mon! Give me a break!
39. Gumbo.
40. Oxtail.
41. Curried goat.
42. Whole insects.
43. Phaal. ????
44. Goat's milk.
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$130 or more.
46. Fugu. Again, ???
47. Chicken tikka masala.
48. Eel.
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut. I can feel those arteries clogging
50. Sea urchin.
51. Prickly pear.
52. Umeboshi.
53. Abalone.
54. Paneer.
55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal. Unfortunately, yes. Repeatedly
56. Spaetzle. Awesome, especially when made by someone who really knows what they're doing.
57. Dirty gin martini.
58. Beer above 8% ABV.
59. Poutine.
60. Carob chips.
61. S'mores. Bet your sweet patootey! Can't go camping without them
62. Sweetbreads.
63. Kaolin. ????
64. Currywurst.
65. Durian.
66. Frogs' legs.
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake. No, yes, yes, yes.
68. Haggis.
69. Fried plantain.
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette.
71. Gazpacho.
72. Caviar and blini.
73. Louche absinthe.
74. Gjetost, or brunost.
75. Roadkill. I don't think so!
76. Baijiu. ???
77. Hostess Fruit Pie. Tried one when I was a kid, and didn't like it.
78. Snail.
79. Lapsang souchong.
80. Bellini.
81. Tom yum.
82. Eggs Benedict.
83. Pocky. Is this an edible hockey puck?
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef.
86. Hare.
87. Goulash. Good hearty stuff.
88. Flowers.
89. Horse.
90. Criollo chocolate.
91. SPAM. My dad's mom would feed this to us sometimes, which was the one meal at her house that I did NOT enjoy
92. Soft shell crab. Not my favorite seafood
93. Rose harissa.
94. Catfish.
95. Mole poblano.
96. Bagel and lox.
97. Lobster Thermidor.
98. Polenta.
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
100. Snake.
Bonus round: Most unusual food you've ever eaten: Thanks to my dad, I've gotten to eat foods that are rather unique for some of my friends, though perhaps not all that unusual - cow tongue, cow heart, fresh fish eggs, bear, moose, raccoon, squirrel, and probably a number of others that I have forgotten.

If you're reading this, you're tagged. Bonus points for the most unusual food not on this list that you've ever eaten.

Friday, October 03, 2008

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five - St. Francis of Assisi

This one made me think. Which is good, I've been a bit light in the deep thinking department lately, due to be tired all the time. This week's Friday Five is inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, a man who gave up wealth and privilege in order to live humbly in obedience to Christ and to help the poor. His personal lore also has made him the friend of all animals. Protestants usually run into him as a statue for your garden, and in those parishes that do blessing services for animals. It's a pity that the average pew sitter doesn't know more about saints like him, since his life story is inspiring and actually quite educational (standing up against the powers-that-be for what you know is right). I think we as Protestants need to reclaim more of our heritage when it comes to saints, not for veneration, but for inspiration. Anyway, on with the Friday Five!

1. Saint Francis experienced a life changing call, has anything in your journey so far challenged you to alter your lifestyle?
Our call to North Dakota has been a definite change to our lifestyle! I went from working 60 to 80 hours a week, to a part time position that allows me to be a stay at home mom (which has been a HUGE adjustment). My hubby went from student to his first call, which is going real well. We've gone from a well-populated area with shopping nearby, to a sparsely populated area that requires a lot of travel to be able to buy necessities, much less entertainment. The folks here are teaching us some wonderful lessons about what community can really mean. Life can be really truly hard for folks out here, they all know they can be a moment away from bad news, from every thing changing. There's a sort of spiritual honesty that comes with that here that I am learning from and appreciating. We're redefining what we do for fun, and how we connect with others. Pastoral identity and your role in the community is definitely different from what I experienced before. We've been here a year now, and I can definitely say that this move has been life-changing for us!

2. Francis experienced mocking and persecution, quite often in the comfortable west this is far from our experience. If you have experienced something like this how do you deal with it, if not how does it challenge you to pray for those whose experience is daily persecution?
I have experienced minimal mocking and persecution, it usually is from someone with an axe to grind about Christians or religion in general. I try to be as gracious and calm as possible. I find that if I am genuine and compassionate, and focus on why they are so negative, they either lose interest, or open up. Of course, any negative words I receive are nothing compared to the true persecution Christians receive in other places in this world, who face prejudice, refusal of rights and resources, imprisonment, torture, and death. I do keep these folks in my prayers, but of course I cannot even imagine what they go through.

3 .St Francis had female counterpart in St Clare, she was influenced by St Francis sermon and went on to found the Poor Clare's, like the Franciscans they depended on alms this was unheard of for women in that time, but she persisted and gained permission to found the order. How important are role models like St Clare to you? Do you have a particular female role model whose courage and dedication inspires you? If so share their story....
Wow. Role models inspire, give hope, and remind us that we can make a difference. I am grateful for those I have read about, and those I have seen in action. From days gone by: Dorothy Day, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Mother Theresa, and many more. Role models living: Kathleen Norris, the women pastors who have lovingly and honestly mentored me and shown by their example what it means to love God and love the people as you serve, the church basement women throughout my life who have taught me what faithful hardworking service looks like (with lots of humor thrown in), Grandma Alice who lived as she believed...well, we were supposed to just talk about one, so I suppose I should stop there!

4. Francis loved nature and animals, how important is an expressed love of the created world to the Christian message today?
I think very important. Creation and the stewardship of it has always been a part of our faith, and it is even more poignant today. Even though people don't all agree about things like global warming, we can all agree that we as human beings have a hugely destructive footprint on this world, and that we have to do something about it. Even folks who have been seriously in denial are starting to recognize that things have to change. We as Christians have something important and beautiful to say in this conversation that speaks to these concerns.

5. On a lighter note; have you ever led a service of blessing for animals, or a pet service, was it a success, did you enjoy it, and would you do it again?
I have never done one, but have always wanted to! I have heard humorous stories of sheep pooping all over the narthex, animals getting loose and running free during the service, and a bird getting free, flying up to the rafters, and pooping on the pastor during the sermon. Nonetheless, I hope to do one some day! I'm guessing an outdoor service is the way to go.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


I am sick and tired of politics.

And we still have a month until the presidential election!

My hubby is super into this stuff. He won't get home until 11 pm tonight, but won't go to bed until he's watched the Vice Presidential debate, which he taped. I, who could have watched it, listened in for a few minutes, felt naseous, and channel surfed instead.

Now, I know these things matter for the future of our country. People feel very passionate about the many different philosophies of how one best approaches domestic and foreign policy. What I hate is when they caste those whose stance is different from theirs as evil, as non-human, as idiotic, as unpatriotic, etc. I mean, come on!!!

The commentary on the debate (the little that I have been willing to listen to) has said that overall both candidates did fine. I'm sure my hubby will tell me alllllllllll about the many details, in detail, tomorrow.


I do care about who wins. I think it would be a Definate mistake to put McCain and Palin in the White House. I just think that we should be able to have a more bipartisan spirit as we all seek to make good decisions for our country, and for many people around the world.

But then I suppose that makes me a naive idiot when in comes to how things really have to work. Blech!!!