Monday, August 31, 2009

Sinking Stomach

Well, POOP!

After the vote on the Human Sexuality statement at the Churchwide Assembly for the ELCA, I knew there would be some sort of reaction in my parish. But I hadn't even heard a murmer, and was thinking that it might actually not be too big of a deal for my people.

And then my secretary called me today. Members of one of the three congregations I serve apparently are freaking out BIG time and are contemplating two alternatives - 1. leave their congregation or 2. take the congregation out of the ELCA. None of them wanted to tell me about their impromptu meeting this last Sunday (it was my Sunday off) where they all freaked out and talked about these things, because they didn't want to upset me...which of course upsets me far more than if they had been upfront with me in the first place.

Making this all the more fun is the fact that I could go into labor at any moment. And they're talking about doing something radical right away, they're so upset. So this is going to be just one PEACHY maternity leave. I sent an SOS to my bishop, and he's planning on calling me tomorrow afternoon, so hopefully some good advice is coming my way.

Crap, crap, crap, crap.

Friday, August 21, 2009

RevGal Friday Five: Rules

The host of this week's RevGal's Friday Five writes "After a family vacation with our four children and three additional "partners," I am more aware of rules, spoken and unvoiced. Expectations are not always clearly expressed, but are still expected. . . . unbeknown to all unless one is not fulfilled! So how about writing about rules in your families and workplaces? Choose one or more for each category, especially if one seems odd or funny to you now."

1. Formal rules in family of origin
NEVER say "shut up" to another person, ever! (It was considered on the same level as swearing in my family.) Do your best. Do your chores. Go to college. Be honest. Always behave appropriately in public, you represent the family. Go to church.

2. Unwritten and unspoken rules in family of origin
Be a "good girl" - no sex, no drinking or drugs, no juvenile delinquent behavior. We're private people, so keep family stuff (including extended family) within the family. Know how amuse yourself, 'cause no one is here to cater to your amusement. When mom is in that certain mood (every mom knows this mood!) stay out of her way and don't bug her. Hugs and expressions of love for everyone in the family are a must at leave-takings.

3. Formal rules in current family or workplace
Try everything on your plate. Be kind and considerate. Read often, if not every day. Practice patience. Use your words (adults sometimes need reminding of this one too!). Mind your manners.

4. Unwritten rules in current family or workplace
Be understanding when someone in the family is not feeling the best. Education is extremely important, so take learning seriously, but have fun with it too! We're a naturally messy family, but try to fight back the chaos. Don't spend too much time in front of the TV or computer. Encourage dad in his diet.

5. When was a time that you became aware of different rules in different places/families than your own?
When I was in elementary school, I hung out a bit with a girl a little younger than me who lived just up the road from us. Her mom would scream, yell, criticize and belittle her pretty much all the time, even in front of me. In return, my friend would talk back to her mom, misbehave just to tick her off, and tell me how much she hated her. Up to that point, I had no idea that this kind of family behavior existed!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Children

My baby started first grade today.

It was a really good morning. Her aunt, uncle and two cousins got to see her off and wish her well, since their quick visit overlapped with the big day. She was excited about going to school, and glad to have RevDad and I with her for the first morning. When we got to her classroom, and she saw her classmates, mom and dad didn't matter anymore! She was rarin' to go. The only anxiety was when she looked for her name on a desk, and couldn't find it. Once the teacher explained that they would be fitting each child to the desk that was the right size for their height, she was fine and dandy.

It was nice to see that all the classmates immediately connected, as if they hadn't been apart for the summer (of course, only having 5 in the class does promote bonding!) They share their teacher with the second graders, and do many of their activities with them, like gym, music, art and English. So in many ways she is a part of a class of 13, instead of just 5 (yes, the second grade class is made up of 8 kids, that's rural life for you!)

I find myself enjoying the quiet, and the chance to relax and catch my breath. But I also catch myself checking the clock often, thinking things like, "only one more hour until she's home!" It will be nice to have this time before the baby arrives to get stuff done during the day. But it will take awhile to get used to being separated from her for so many hours again. Better get used to it though, that's how it's going to be for a long time, now that the school years are here.

The baby has the hiccups again, it's so darn cute! And less uncomfortable than some of the big kicks. I think she's dropped some more today, things just feel different. At yesterday's prenatal exam, the doctor said we're at 1 centimeter dilated, and just a tiny bit effaced. Of course you can sit at 3 centimeters for weeks on end, but it is a hopeful sign nonetheless. We really are coming down the home stretch! As of this weekend, we're at 37 weeks, so baby is fully developed, and just puts on weight from here on out. That is also an awesome, reassuring thing! This weekend I'm going to pack my hospital bag, I probably won't need it for a few weeks, but this time I'd like to be ready! With Lil' Princess, I was quickly stuffing random stuff into a bag after my water broke, and rushing off to the hospital without a bunch of stuff I needed. So if this little one is early too, I'd like to be prepared.

How lovely to be thinking about "my children" instead of just "my child." A miracle I never expected!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What the....?!?!

I tuned to NPR while driving in the car today, as I often do (satellite radio is a life-saver in no-reception land!). Talk of the Nation was just diving into an extended analysis and conversation about all the wild and crazy behavior at the health care town-hall meetings around the nation. I switched it to the Broadway tunes station abruptly.

I am so....sick of this behavior. Absolutely people have real concerns and grievances when it comes to the topic of health care. But shouting others down? Chanting crap so that no one can talk or hear? Getting physical and even violent to stop events??? What happened to conversation and dialog? What happened to civility and basic decency? I just can't buy the line that they're just expressing their mistrust and anger. If you have real issues and concerns, then you'd be part of the conversation, part of the solution. If you have a larger political agenda and believe in shutting down true partisonship, believe in influencing through fear and appealing to people's worst instincts, and just love being a bully, then you act like the folks have been at these meetings. It's a perversion of what American democracy is supposed to be about.

Ugh. Ok, now that that's out of my system...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


So today I got a craving. A full-blown pregnancy must-have-it-now craving. So on one of the hottest days of this whole summer (95 degrees) I turned on the oven and whipped together a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. The cookie dough was so yummy. The hot melty cookies right out of the oven were heavenly. And the house smells awesome. It is also pretty unbearable to go into the kitchen right now, and Lil' Princess and I are camped out in front of the air conditioning unit in the living room, but I think I can officially declare the cookies so worth it!

Tomorrow we're going to go visit one of my members who is recovering from breast cancer surgery, so we'll bring some of our cookies with us. She's a champion baker, and has shared many treats with us, so we hope she'll enjoy a treat from us, especially since Lil' P helped make them (flour all over the counter and floor, and many of the chocolate chips ended up in her mouth instead of the bowl, but hey, we had fun!)

Sigh. The dryer beeped again. Time to put away the fourth and hopefully last load of the day!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A Quiet Sunday Afternoon

Life has quieted down.

The insane wedding happened, which gratefully had far less drama than expected.
A couple of members are in the hospital, but holding their own.
I'm still managing to survive three services on Sundays, though a nap is a must on Sunday afternoons.

RevDad is heading out for a continuing education class, so we'll see how well I do with no back-up for a few days. Lil' Princess is definitely overdue to go back to school - she's pretty fed up being stuck with tired-out boring parents! I'm trying to think of things to keep her amused while Dad is gone, since I just can't keep up with her now.

It has been an interesting experience to be pregnant in this parish. They are very pleased that a baby is coming, and were pretty impatient for me to start showing. They want everything to go well, and have been wonderful about making arrangements for a good maternity leave. But a certain contingent have been impatient with the side-effects of pregnancy that impact my work...getting dizzy and tired in worship, easily over-heated, less energetic in my worship leadership and sermons, more limited in what I can do overall and how long I can last. I think it's the whole "You're not supposed to let them see you bleed!" rugged individualism that is the back-bone of survival here. But I can't complain, they've been gracious and understanding overall, and have a deep appreciation and valuing of family life. I know some of my peers in larger communities have run into resistance and even hostility and resentment when they've made family a priority.

Well, once this batch of popcorn is done, it's off to bed. Grocery shopping and writing a newspaper article await me tomorrow. What fun!