Wednesday, April 30, 2008
That was today.
Funeral this morning.
Working with a guest organist to record hymns on our organ early afternoon.
Keeping Lil' Princess amused mid afternoon, while prepping for confirmation.
Leading confirmation and then cleaning up afterward through late afternoon, early evening.
Get Lil' P fed, cleaned up, in bed, stories read, and off to dream land.
And now...trying not to think about all that is left to be done!
No, I'm going to sit on this couch, watch Top Chef, and not feel guilty.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Dad has gratefully fled to his office, and won't be back until late tonight.
I have a throbbing headache.
Lil' P is hiding under a blanket and is singing and refusing to cooperate with anything I ask or tell her to do.
It is time to go for a l-o-n-g walk and run off some of her energy while I try to conserve some of mine!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
P: Alleluia! Christ is risen!
C: He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
P: God has gone up with a shout:
C: The Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
P: Sing praises to God, sing praises!
C: Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
P: Christ reigns over the nations:
C: He sits at God's right hand in the heavenly places.
It's time to get working on next Sunday's Ascension worship. I found this Dialog on Richard Fairchild's website, and plan to use it to set the tone for the service. Ascension is something we don't give much attention to, it begs the question of what meaning it has for the modern day Christian. Why should we take time to remember this particular event?
Some commentators see its primary function as a stepping stone, a preparation, for Pentecost. A point "B" as it were, to get us from point "A" to point "C." But does it have some importance, in and of itself?
Just some initial thoughts as the week begins. Besides a sermon and service planning, I need to come up with a blessing and thanks to Sunday School teachers, and a children's sermon that is actually done by the children as a closing to the Sunday School year. With all that and a funeral, and Lil' P's birthday party to plan, the week should be full!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
What gorgeous sounds coming from outside...we've been so dry, that it is almost startling to hear rain against the window. Ranchers and farmers around here will be going to sleep with a smile on their face for at least tonight. We prayed for this at the Rogation service. People prayed with all their hearts, worried about more drought, worried about their families, worried about the future. We still don't know what the summer will bring, but at least for one night, they all can smile. And have some peace as they rest.
I have never equated wind and rain lashing against the window pane with a moment of peace before, but now I do.
Nurturing Mother of us all, thank you for the rains which soak the earth, and for your loving care of creation. Bless and keep farmers and ranchers as they go about their daily tasks in this busy time. Reveal the new life we may have in you through Christ even as you reveal the new life that shows forth in spring. Help us to be good stewards of all you have given us, and people of love and forgiveness. Give us peaceful rest for this night, and wake us to a new day made glorious by your presence. In the name of the Trinity, Amen.
The woman who was scheduled to teach confirmation today called last night, and discussed how IMPOSSIBLE the curriculum is for this week and next. And it is. It just isn't appropriate, we have to invest in new materials for next year. The results of the conversation was that I am going to teach today and next week. So last night I took a look at some curriculum my hubby has, and found that it would work. It's all on a disc, and I just have to download it onto my laptop. Cool! I thought.
So, today, I sit down to get serious about getting things done. Guess what?!?!?! It won't download. No Matter What I Do! I have spent HOURS on this. So now what?
Crap, crapitty, crap!
I am out of prep time.
I guess we'll find out just how flexible and creative and quick on my feet I am.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
It so simply speaks volumes!
We all need this window hanging in our homes. And where we work and play, for that matter.
I think this is my new focusing statement for my meditation time - a good thought to imprint on our minds and hearts!
The resource went on to question not only whether or not WE need and are given the Defense Attorney, but whether the Defense Attorney is given to represent GOD to US. This turns the image on its head, from us being the ones pleading before God's throne, to God working through the Spirit to come to our hearts and lives again and again, seeking to be let in past our hardness and closed-ness.
This idea has stuck with me all day.
I met with a couple tonight for premarital counseling. They have dated for seven years, and have gone through some ups and downs. When I told them that marriage is hard work, I mean WORK, they were nodding along. They know this. They've been working at this relationship thing for a while. And they're realizing that getting married moves this up a whole lotta notches. So we talked about needing the support of our family and friends, and needing the support of God in their life together. They are not alone. Sometimes they will need these other voices to plead for them, be the voices of empathy or care or reason, be their advocates for life together.
Paraclete. Advocate. Helper. Guide. Sustainer. Defense Attorney?
More mulling ensues...
Monday, April 21, 2008
”If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
”I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
Main Themes: love, commandments, gift of the Paraclete (Holy Spirit), unity with the Trinity
Initial Thoughts: what captures my attention is the intimacy and connectiveness expressed between God and believers - "On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." I think that is a kind of intimacy we all yearn for, a kind of certainty and identity of which we wish to be a part. How often we feel the opposite! How often we feel miles and miles away from our Father, away from certainty. We feel lonely, disconnected, uncertain at different times in our lives, sometimes for long periods of time. So what are we to make of this promise that Jesus makes to his disciples during his Farewell Discourses?
Sunday, April 20, 2008
want to rock and roll all n-i-g-h-t
and party every day!
Now, if you are familiar with this song, you immediately started jamming out inside your head, or even perhaps outloud, as soon as you saw those words. Admit it! There are certain songs that just stick with you (whether you want them to or not) and evoke certain moods or memories.
Right now I'm trying to get psyched up. Got the usual three services under my belt this morning, but I have two more to do yet today. One this afternoon at the nursing home, and the Rogation service tonight. And I'm pooped. So bring on the power of musical persuasion! Yes, I am young, yes I have energy, yes I can move mountains!!!! Bring it on! I....wanna rock and roll all night, and party every day!
I might buy into it better if my birthday wasn't next weekend.
For the nursing home service I'm either going to do a simplified version of my "Rock" sermon from this morning, which went over well, or a ramped up version of my "Follow the Map" children's sermon from this morning, which also went well. The feel of the crowd will help make the decision, if they're pretty alert, I'll do the former. If they're out of it, I'll do the latter. With this particular bunch, usually they're there for the singing, and the rest is a blur.
For the Rogation service, I have NO idea what I'm doing. Apparantly all of us ministerial pastors and priests just show up, and choose what we want to do. The last few to arrive get stuck with the parts no one else wants. I've never been to this service before, and I'm not sure where the building is where it is being held, so my plans are to get to town early!
want to sleep like a log all night
and stay sane all day!
Friday, April 18, 2008
RevDad is completely exhausted, and has a busy schedule - funeral, first ever premarital counseling session, along with writing sermon and Sunday services.
Lil' Princess is sniffing and dribbling snot, and has a nasty barking cough that makes me wince.
I have a ton of cleaning to get done, I need to get to Big Far Away Shopping Town to exchange some clothes for Lil' P, I need to create and get ready her b-day invitations, write a sermon, prep for services, meet with my Sunday school superintendant, do three Sunday services, and assist at our county ministerial's Rogation service. There's other things too, but those are the highlights.
We're looking forward to birthdays around here. Lil' P, of course, wants a pink princess themed birthday party, which means Mommy has to get creative since half of the guests will be little boys who are NOT impressed with princesses. I'm working on some games that emphasize parts of the stories that are not so girly. The other challenge is not knowing what kind of weather we will have. It would be nice to have the party at the city park in the town where most of them live, but spring is so iffy for temp. and rainfall. I'm going to check to see if we could have RevDad's main church as our back-up site in case of bad weather.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
As the days warm, the green grass appears, and flowers begin to poke through the soil, we ladies grow more and more anxious to get out into the dirt. What a sweet time of possibilities spring is!
Today I preach at the nursing home. I've been considering the texts for this coming Sunday. All the lessons except the Gospel make use of the imagery of rocks. The second lesson from 1 Peter talks about how Jesus is the cornerstone and foundation to those who believe. The Psalm talks about God as our rock and refuge. The first lesson recounts how Stephen becomes the first martyr through stoning, asking God to forgive his killers even as he dies.
Stones are solid, strong. They've been used as building materials, but they are also the bane of farmers attempting to plow their fields. They were used by the earliest of hunters as weapons to provide food. But they have also been used as weapons of murder. Some, like my dad and my daughter, find them fascinating and worth collecting. Others don't even notice their existence.
I thinks we "use" God and Christ in similar ways. God is our life, our hope, our light, but through time, we have used the idea of God to hurt and harm. To exclude and rationalize. We can do such good in the name of Christ, and such terrible harm has been done in the name of Christ, as well.
I'm not sure where these thoughts are going, and what will preach today (especially considering this is for nursing home residents!) but these images have caught me today.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I'm glad to see that they had some rain while we were gone. And the lawn furniture didn't blow away. And it's selfishly very gratifiying how relieved everyone seems to be that we're back. Being wanted and needed does salve the old ego, whether we like to admit it or not!
I shall have to stop dilly-dallying, and get to work on confirmation. They are so active, I'm just hoping it's nice enough this late afternoon that I can have them do SOMEthing active outside. Otherwise they practically levitate from their chairs with energy!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
We have landed, and it feels good. We have a HUGE mound of stuff to sort through and find a home for, and a good size pile of laundry I have started to wrestle, but it's all good.
We had a very nice time visiting friends yesterday, though it is all so quick and fleeting. Today we drove, drove, drove, and discovered the limits to everyones' patience. But now, Lil' Princess flits happily through the house singing, RevDad considers the merits of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for supper, and I reaquiant myself with my favorite spot on the couch while I wait for the dryer to beep. Loverly!
Tomorrow our regular lives press in on us, and our schedules are packed for the rest of the week, but I'm glad we have this evening to adjust and stretch. It was a good vacation, and it is a good homecoming.
Thank you, Heavenly Creator, for your traveling mercies and bountiful blessings.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
After a l-o-n-g day of driving across Missouri and Iowa, we have landed in a hotel in Sioux Falls SD. We ladies sent RevDad out to the nearest Mexican fast food joint to bring us back some supper, and Lil' Princess and I are settling in for the night. Right now she's enjoying a special on Animal Planet about amphibians...the frogs are pretty cool.
We're going to see some SD friends tomorrow, and stay the night with one of them, so it will be nice to break up the journey some. We're ready to head home, though. I think we've all had enough with sleeping in unfamiliar beds and having no regular schedules.
RevDad is back, so its time to eat our tacos...fine dining indeed!
Saturday, April 12, 2008
This morning, while my niece went to her practice, the rest of us slept in, and enjoyed it very much! We hung out for the morning, and let the kids play. Lunch out at a restaurant was crazy, the younger kids are getting stir crazy, and skating niece was getting a little nervous. Then we did a little shopping, Lil' Princess loved the Disney store, let me tell you...princess heaven!
The skating center was wild, packed with vehicles and people. It was a bit overwhelming for us out-of-town rural folk. We saw all but one of the teams in our niece's section, and her team did a great job we thought. I know NOTHing about how these things are judged, so the results were a bit confusing. My niece's team tied for 6th (last) place, which was disappointing, because you could tell they were skating their hearts out. I'm so glad we could be there for it, and support her. She's a strong and agile skater, and it's great to see her confidence.
Afterwards we split up, and RevDad, Lil' P and I went to Barnes & Noble (YAY! bookstore!!!!) for awhile, then to supper. Tonight we're attempting to pack...which is quickly becoming overwhelming and discouraging. Between gifts and stuff we've bought, we're not entirely sure how we're getting all this stuff home. What a problem to have, eh? Just what we need - more STUFF.
Friday, April 11, 2008
It was nice, but nothing to get too excited about. We spent a couple relatively pleasant hours there, then left to find a place to eat lunch (there was a food counter there, but it didn't really serve what I'd call lunch.) The ride back was...horrible. Today the two 4 year olds are fighting more than playing, the 2 year old is screaming at the drop of a hat and the 9 year old is getting uncooperative with all three of them, and it all came to a head on the way back to the hotel. So this afternoon we're having some quiet time APART.
I'm ready for a nap. A really l-o-n-g, quiet nap. Then later this afternoon we may finally get to our shopping plans.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Sigh. Material things do not bring happiness. I know this. Money cannot buy what a person truly needs. But it can get me some cute new black shoes for work, new summer shirts to replace my ancient ones, and fun little shorts for my girl. Not that I've been thinking about this or anything!!!
It was a long and stormy drive into the city, there was a couple of times when we couldn't see the vehicles in front of us because of the heavy rains. The directions we got to our destination were pretty incomplete, which led Sis-in-law the driver and I, the designated navigator, into some giggling fits as we tried to figure out what in the world we were doing and where we should go. But we actually made it just fine.
Today we went to the City Museum, which was fan-tab-ulous!!!! This is an absolute MUST for anyone spending time in St. Louis with kids. It's fun for folks of all ages, but the kids were absolutely thrilled with it. Definitely spendy (whereas the zoo is free), but it was worth it. We spent about six hours there, and we could have spent more time if the younger kids hadn't gotten tired and grumpy. I don't even know how to explain the place. It's a playground, it's a museum, it's a hands-on arts and crafts place, its a circus, its a huge piece of sculpture. It is way cool!
Grandma loved the class on handcrafting rag dolls, which oldest niece did with her. Grandpa loved chatting up the older employees and finding out about all the history of this old downtown building and what materials they had reused and recycled creatively throughout the structure. The little kids loved riding on the indoor train ride - over and over again. We all had a great time going down the slides, especially the three story one (even RevDad got talked into going down that one). It's a four story hands-on work of art that is meant to be played with - is the best way to describe this building and experience.
Tonight after supper we're planning on doing some shopping. Best Buy and Target are on the list, RevDad can't wait! It won't be a long or major shopping time, we're all tuckered out.
It has been a great day. Personally, I've really enjoyed getting bonding time with my Sis-in-law, watching the girls play together, and seeing my little nephew light up when he sees me and reach for his auntie. Thus far, our time together has been positive and has brought us closer as a family, thanks be to God!
It's almost supper time here at the hotel, Nacho bar and veggie tray is on the menu. Sounds good to me, if I can stop yawning long enough to chew!
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
There's construction on the main route that we would normally take to all our destinations, so we've been finding creative and roundabout routes to get places. With Sis-in-law driving and RevDad reading the map, it's been pretty hilarious, and a bit of a miracle that we've gotten anywhere!
We spent the majority of today at the St. Louis Zoo, which is a wonderful place for people of all ages. All of us loved it! The children's part of the zoo was a big hit, especially getting to pet the guinea pigs and brush the goats. The favorite animals to view were the Asian elephants (there was a mom, dad and baby!). The train ride around the park was fun, and the little ones loved the carousel. There was plenty to do and see, we were there for about six hours, and didn't get to see it all. This is a must see place for anyone spending time in the St. Louis area.
When we got back to the hotel, we had a quick supper, then the kids played with grandma while the rest of us ran out to get the makings of a birthday party. When we got back we threw a party for the two 4 year olds. (Lil' Princess and one of her cousins turn five within two days of each other soon, so we had a family party for them.) It was a hoot! Balloons, presents, cookies, and overexcited kids. The girls got some nice and some...interesting presents. Lil' P got a princess doll that is almost as tall as she is, and talks when you press her stomach. She says things like how happy her prince makes her. (Urgle! That's just my inner feminist throwing up in my mouth a little). They had a good time, and the grandparents spoiled them sufficiently.
Now everyone is tucked into their beds. We're supposed to get terrible storms tomorrow, heavy rains, possible tornado, flash floods warnings, the whole shebang. Who-hoo! Our original plans were for some outdoor activities, so we're doing some revamping. Apparantly there is a children's museum around here somewhere, so we might do that instead.
Lil' P is asleep under her new princess sleeping bag.
RevDad is reading.
And I'm ready to sleep, perchance to dream. Of baby elephants, daffodils, and pink princesses dancing in the rain...
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Lil' Princess decided that she missed us, and couldn't sleep away from us, and so she is now tucked back in the hide-a-bed in our room. And chattering away like it isn't way past her bedtime.
And now she wants one of us to sleep with her.
It's going to be a long night!
Actually, we got in last night, around 10:30, grateful to say a quick hi to all and collapse in bed.
This morning, though cool and rainy, we visited the Arch. The security to get in was pretty surprisingly thorough, it was like airport security, except that we didn't have to take our shoes off. Half of us set off the metal detectors! We all enjoyed the ride up the Arch (though the little cars are so tiny, you're squished in), and that incredible view. I got some pretty great pics of us goggling through the tiny windows. The ride back down was fun, fast and bumpy. The museum there was nice, though not quite suited for the little ones. Our oldest niece at least was old enough to appreciate it. Actually, how it worked was this:
RevDad and oldest niece walking s-l-o-w-l-y and reading and discussing EVERYthing. Sis-in-law running after 2 year old. Me running after two 4 year olds. Grandparents sitting on the bench enjoying the show. Gotta love family vacations!
After that we found a restaurant on which we could actually agree - J. Buck's - which had great food, and was very child friendly while still being a very adult space. For the rest of the afternoon, the kids played while the adults hung out, and Sis-in-law and I went shopping. Since I rarely get to go shopping anymore, this was a real treat. I didn't end up finding much, but it was nice to get out, and she and I had a great time together. I don't think we've ever gotten a chance to talk like that!
Tonight Lil'Princess is sleeping with her cousins, so RevDad and I are actually having some alone time...so what are we doing with this rare and precious time???? He's reading, and I'm blogging. We've gotta get a life! But really, it's nice to have some quiet time where we can just peacefully be together in the same space and just enjoy being around each other.
I'm not entirely sure what tomorrow will bring. There are some pretty set plans for Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, but who knows what will truly happen. So we'll wait and see!
Oh, and note to Mom and Mary: remember how I said I was sure I'd have stories to tell?? Oh you betcha!!. Remind me to tell you about the continental breakfast at the hotel, and the mint chocolate candies at J. Buck's. And about Snaz.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
The road conditions and weather went absolutely AWEFUL as we approached Fargo. I mean white knuckle, multiple cars in the ditches, solid ice, limited visibility, crawling along at 20 mph aweful. For miles and miles. And of course yours truly was driving!
So we are stuck in a hotel room in Fargo for the night, just hoping that the roads clear tomorrow so that we can continue the trip. We're being charged for the hotel room in Sioux Falls, which is a big ouch. But since I made our reservation online, that's what happens.
We're all staying pretty positive about all this despite it all. We're warm, in a nice room, and after a ten hour drive tomorrow, we'll be at our destination. I'm really appreciating the hotel's free wireless network connection right now! And a good nights sleep will be lovely.
Lil' Princess is sound asleep, a little girl in a big bed. RevDad is reading Sunday's paper, trying to wind down. And I'm just grateful to be off the road and free of responsibility for a week.
So vacation, watch out, here we come!
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Thursday, April 03, 2008
We leave on our trip after services on Sunday, and that time is RAPIDLY approaching. I'm caught up with the laundry as of today, I cleaned out the fridge, created a confirmation lecture for the teacher for this week, RevDad checked the weather report (turns out we're going to have to buy some rain gear on our way down to St. Louis!) and my bulletins are ready.
What's left - letter of recommendation for a former parishioner applying to Luther Seminary. Call Council President to give input on council meeting I'm missing. Invitation letters to pastors for this summer's centennial. Sermon for Sunday. Confirmation lecture for day after we get back. Packing. I'm sure other things will occur to me if I think about it longer.
It will be so good to head out on the road, and be free spirits for a little while! I think the daily stuff gets so consuming sometimes, it's good to step back, get away, and see what else life can be. So bring on St. Louis!
And that means, back to the to-do list...