Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks, One by Three

We're leaving in just a little bit to begin our journey to our friends' house. We'll get 5 hours of the driving under our belts today, and stay at a nice hotel tonight. It has a great pool, with a curly slide, and is next to a mall, and I booked a nicer room than I usually would get (I'm cheap!). Then tomorrow, we get an early start, and finish the last 4 to 5 hours of the drive, and arrive to celebrate Thanksgiving with some dear friends from college, and their three kids. The eldest is my godchild. We haven't been to their home in over five years.

I am so thankful for friends, and the opportunity to spend time with them. These are folks who know us well and love us anyway. Who despite distance, occasional crabbiness on all our parts, and busyness of life, have remained close and dear to us. True friends are precious. You can tell them the most vulnerable thoughts and events, share theirs, laugh, cry, eat, stay up too late, tease each other out of grumpiness, and just truly BE who you are with each other. What a gift.

Heavenly Father, Eternal Mother, I give you thanks for the precious gift of friendship. I thank you for the people who you have blessed my life with, and the lives of my hubby and daughter. Bless them and keep them. Help us to treasure these relationships, to tend them, to nourish them, to never take them for granted. Help me to be open to New friendships in places and people I may not expect or may not be looking for, open my heart and life to the love you would have me share. Thank you for the amazing friendship of my husband, out of which blossomed our love. Keep it strong. All these thing I pray trusting in the work of your Holy Spirit, and joyful in the gift of your Son our Savior. Amen.

I am blessed beyond all measure.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Giving Thanks, One by Two

I am grateful for this beautiful world, this flawed, but gift of a creation that God has placed into our stewardship and keeping...

-for fresh fallen snow glittering in the moonlight

-for Peter the rabbit and his family nibbling at the corn beneath the bird feeder

-for the sunset over the buttes

-for all the national and state parks that have taken my breath away

-for memories of sumac hill, and the joy of growing up in the woods of MN

-for fields of wheat, golden in the sun

-for antelope running gracefully along a ridge

-for all the ways the world speaks life and hope and the presence of God

Mothering God, you brought your children to life, and nurture us under the shelter of your wings. I praise you for the wonder of your created world and the complex beauty of all that you have called into being. Help me, and all of your people, to gratefully and fully take upon ourselves the calling of steward, and deal gently and lovingly with what you have put in our care. Most of all, help us to see not simply that which we can use for our purposes, but that which you have created out of love and joy. Cleanse and renew our attitudes and actions to reflect your will. You are our source, our hope, our eternal Mother. All thanks and praise to you! Amen.

I am blessed beyond measure.

Giving Thanks, One by One

My girl woke up smiling today. She beamed at me from her pink sheets, and had to tell me about the BIG number she knows. She then counted from 30 to 39. Then she told us that in school she learned that another word for a baby pig is a shoat. (sp?)

All this before I'd even gotten a chance to get her clothing out of the dresser.

While we waited for the bus, we wrote our names in the snow using really big sticks, she wanted to use the one that's taller than she is. Then she bounded into the bus, got into her seat, and blew kisses through the window to me.

In this Thanksgiving week, I'm doing some intentional blessing counting here on the blog, and I have to start with Lil' Princess, our miracle baby. After ten years of marriage, a miscarriage, and almost giving up hope, she arrived in our lives, and has been an evolving miracle ever since.

Thank you God for my precious girl, for her love of her family, her wonderful imagination, her enthusiasm for life. Even when she's a grumpy little pain in the morning. I remember so well all those years I begged you for a child, like Hannah, like Rachel, though I didn't have to wait as long as they. All those years you stayed with me and hubby, and now in these years, in the fears and guilts of parenting, you continue to abide and comfort, guide and prod. Help us to be the best parents we can be to this child you have entrusted to our care. Walk with her, protect her, and nurture her flame of faith. Most of all, thank you, thank you, thank you for our girl. Amen.

I am blessed beyond measure.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Five - Mix It Up

From RevGalBlogPals Friday Five:
"In a minor domestic crisis, my food processor, or more precisely the part you use for almost everything for which I use a food processor, picked the eve of the festive season of the year to give up the ghost. A crack in the lid expanded such that a batch of squash soup had to be liberated via that column shaped thing that sticks up on top.

Can you tell this is not my area of strength?

Next week, I'm hosting Thanksgiving. I need your help. Please answer the following kitchen-related questions:"

1) Do you have a food processor? Can you recommend it? Which is to say, do you actually use it?
I have never had a food processor, and have never really felt a need for one. But then, I am what you would call "domestically challenged," so I wouldn't know what to do with it!

2) And if so, do you use the fancy things on it? (Mine came with a mini-blender (used a lot and long ago broken) and these scary disks you used to julienne things (used once).
Don't have one...and would probably be scared to use all those extra pieces if I did!

3) Do you use a standing mixer? Or one of the hand-held varieties?
I have a standing mixer, and two hand held ones. They are my workhorses, when it comes to baking time. As the Christmas holiday approaches, and our open house at the parsonage comes closer, they will all get a workout!

4) How about a blender? Do you have one? Use it much?
I was given a blender by friends of ours about 4 years ago, and encouraged to make yummy drinks with it. Just a week ago, I took it out of the box for the first time. Still haven't used it, but I figure getting it out of the box is progress!

5) Finally, what old-fashioned, non-electric kitchen tool do you enjoy using the most?
My teapot. A bit battered & scorched, and definitely not lovely looking, but it has heated plenty of water for endless cups of tea and hot chocolate ever since I was first married. My mom gave it to me, and told me it would come in handy. And boy has it ever! I use it almost every day in the cooler to cold months.

Bonus: Is there a kitchen appliance or utensil you ONLY use at Thanksgiving or some other holiday? If so, what is it?
The gravy bowl that my mom forced me to buy. We only ever use it when my family gathers for Christmas at my house, to use to pour the white sauce over the lutefisk (yuck!). It is NEVER used at any other time of the year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Truth in Advertising

Sometimes when really crappy things have happened to people I've served in churches, there has been that moment when they've looked at me and the questions have been there, spoken or unspoken - "Why has this happened to me? Isn't believing in God good for something? I thought things were supposed to go well for me because I believe in Jesus! What happened?"

Unfortunately, there's some false advertising out there in the Christian world that says, if you just believe the right thing, all will go well for you. God wants the best for you, and if you try hard enough, you will tap into that, and all will be well.


I have made a point, especially in confirmation classes and premarital counseling sessions, to make the point that following Jesus doesn't mean that life gets easier. Often it means that it gets harder. BUT....and I go on to share the gospel message of life and hope and accompaniment in this life and the next. And hope that it is heard.

As I've gotten older, I too have experienced moments where I have had conversations with God that begin with something like "I know you never said that this was going to be easy, but..." In a world that trumpets quick fixes, and instant successes, the offer to walk with us and be with us for the long haul is not necessarily comforting to the post-modern's ear. But that is what we as people of faith have to offer.

Truth in advertising!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Yesterday, I took a deep breath, and I did it.

I gathered up the clothes, shoes, slippers and purses I have been gleaning out of my closet and my daughter's dressor, and boxed them all up. I didn't look back, I didn't mourn, I didn't sentimentalize over special items. I just stuck 'em in the boxes and bags. When I was done, I had one giant box, 4 medium boxes, 2 small boxes, and 2 bags of stuff. Then I quickly stuffed them in the back of my car (had to put the seats down!) and set off for the clothing mission, 24 miles away.

When I got there, I unloaded them, stacked them in the back room of the mission, closed the back hatch of my car, and drove off, without looking back. I suffered one momentary twinge as I turned away, but I kept going.

There were things in there dating back to high school, special shirts from college, clothes I'd hoped to slim down and get back into. There were special little dresses I'd loved seeing my little girl wear.

They are all gone.

And we're...I'm better for it.

Purging hasn't been easy. Getting to this point has been a very long process. My hubby really is the pack rat of the family, but I too create emotional ties to things that are just, well, things. That don't serve a purpose for us anymore. That could serve a purpose for someone else.

I've been reading articles, books, blogs and other sources about living simply, about examining our spending habits and being better stewards, and greener consumers, for the sake of the world. Its a matter of faith, and health, and future, and sanity. There's no recycling where I live, and to get basic necessities, I have to drive 50 miles round trip. So there are a few challenges to this greener, simpler world view.

But there are places to start.

And it feels good to look in my closet, and know that everything in there is something that fits, and is something that I wear. Well, nearly everything. There is that one t-shirt I just wasn't quite ready to let go of...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Page 56

Here's a fun meme I came upon in one of the blogs I regularly read -

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence along with these instructions on your blog (or facebook wall).
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

It just so happens that the closest book to me at the moment is the Bible - no really! I suppose that's too predictible for a pastor, but hey, it is the best of books! Here's my quote:
"You are still exalting yourself against my people, and will not let them go."
Moses is taking on Pharoah, trying to convince him to let God's people go. A rich story, a troubling one, and one that has given hope to many over the centuries. Nice to be reminded of it tonight!

So, tag you're it! Your turn to try it...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Celebrating All Saints - Three Churches Light Candles to Remember, Each in their Way

At the church with the smallest attendance in the parish I serve (8-15 on a Sunday), I set up a metal decorative plate and votive candles, with a taper candle off of which to light the votive candles. (There is no Christ candle or Paschal candle at this church). The small table is set in front of the altar.

At the second largest church in the parish I serve (12-25 on a Sunday), one of the members made this candle rack for All Saints - lighting candles in remembrance on All Saints is a new experience for all these congregations. Each hole holds a glass votive holder and votive candle. For next year, we are going to find shorter glass votive holders, these were too tall, and made it hard for some to light the candles. The table is to the left of the altar, in front of the baptismal font.

At the largest the largest of the churches in the parish I serve (30-80 on a Sunday), one of the members made this candle rack for All Saints. Since we weren't sure what attendance would be, and how many people would come forward for the lighting, extra glass votive holders and votive candles were placed on the table. The glass votive holders were the perfect size. We used two small Christmas Eve candles with the drip-catch cups for lighting the votive candles. The table is in front of the movable altar in the picture, but for the service, the baptismal font was put in place of the movable altar. (There is an east-wall altar in the back of the chancel)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Movie Night

Since we're betting we don't have to get up and at 'em tomorrow, what with the blizzard and all, RevDad and I are actually staying up to watch a non-child's movie. Iron Man, to be specific. It's pretty good, and raises some interesting questions along with offering some bang-up special effects.
What's kind of blowing my mind is that we're actually doing a grown up activity. Together. On a normal day. Not on vacation. Not on a sick day. On a Wednesday night! I didn't realize how much I missed this.
Pass the Cheetos, and snuggle in. There's plenty more movie to go...

Snowflakes Keep Fallin' on my Head

We are in the middle of a bona fide blizzard! The wind is howling, the power went out for a few moments earlier, the heavy wet snow is piling up, and every child within a hundred mile radius is dreaming of a day off of school tomorrow. Both RevDad and myself cancelled confirmation tonight, and are grateful we did! He had to drive 35 mph on the way home, and could barely see the road. I've been thinking about craft projects we can do with Lil' Princess if we are snowed in. One thing we definately will take on is cleaning her room - I'm tired of tripping over piles of books and babies when I walk through her room!

It's actually a nice thought - us being stuck at home together tomorrow. We don't get to hang out together, the three of us, very often. Family bonding time ahoy, just maybe!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Big Night

shimmy shimmy, la la la!!
whoo hoo, zip boom ba!

(dance around the living room)

now I can shut off the TV and go to bed

Monday, November 03, 2008

Elections are Nigh

FINALLY election day is almost here! Our plan is to head to the courthouse after text study to cast our votes. Even though the politicking season has been painful to follow, I find myself quite excited to follow the election results tomorrow.
I am ready for this to be done, for the campaigning to be over, and all of us to move on. And I hopes that maybe, just maybe, we will find ourselves moving in some exciting positive directions once all the votes are tallied!


So turns out it wasn't overeating Halloween candy that was the problem when I blogged Friday night. As the evening wore on, it became clear I had contracted the stomach flu.

oh yeh

So I spent the night in some very unpleasant ways. Then spent Saturday recovering. Thus far hubby and Lil' Princess haven't shown any signs, thank goodness! It's the bug going around now. One of the local nursing homes isn't allowing any visitors because so many of their residents have it.

So here's hoping none of you get it!