Tuesday, February 28, 2006

'Four' Emerald Palace

Because she is procrastinating, I will too...

I was tagged ages ago for this and I’m doing it now:

Four jobs I've had:

1. I worked at my Dad’s restaurant for a long time. If I really had to I could manage your chicken, ribs and seafood place. Just let me know. The specialty were these things called ‘Tasty Taters’ – wedges of potato with the skin still on breaded and then fried. Good. I think my Dad fired me from there about 8 times.

2. I worked at Marshalls for about a week. After working for my Dad it was hard to work for the official, corporate world.

3. I worked at Sports Authority for a little bit while in seminary, but left for similar reasons to #2. Plus all I wanted to do was hang out on the floor and maybe work register. Instead they put me in the back to count money, something I am TERRIBLE at. Somehow putting me in a dark room with no one else and making me do math was not exactly what I was looking for.

4. Chaplain at a Psychiatric Hospital. I have got some stories for you, but basically I came out of it thinking that when it comes to ministry I wish everyone had a folder where I could go look up what their issues are.

Four movies I could watch over and over again:

1. Notting Hill
2. The Natural
3. Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls I know, it's embarrassing, but there is one scene in here that cracks me up every. time. It is when Ace is by the cave and he is told that the animal he is looking for is a bat... he freaks out. For me it's a great silly movie.
4. The Muppet Movie Where else is 'Presbyterian' a punchline?

Four places I've lived:

1. Central, shore NJ
2. West coast Florida
3. Central Florida
4. Central PA

Four TV shows I love to watch:

1. The Office
2. My Name is Earl
3. NFL football
4. Lazy Sunday afternoon baseball

Four places I've been on vacation:

1. London/Scotland/Wales
2. Hawaii
3. Da Beach
4. Maine

Four websites I visit daily:

1. revgalblogpals
2. set free
3. cnn
4. jo(e)

Four of my favorite foods:

1. A really good New England clam chowder. TDH and I made finding this our mission during our February vacation in Maine.
2. lobster and crab
3. Homemade onion rings from The Circus Drive In
4. A good steak


Four places I'd rather be right now:

1. Da Beach
2. Da Bed
3. Da massage table
4. Da lottery office picking up my winnings (would help if I played)

No tags, I figure if you wanted to do it by now you would have.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Politically Incorrect

I think ultimately this is a post about my frustrations with the media, but we shall see how it comes out.

Is it just me, or has the media's spin on New Orleans and Mardi Gras taken a serious turn this year, post-Katrina? It seems like last year at this time the news was all about how Mardi Gras had become this sordid thing that had gotten out of control of local officials. Now this year it is being heralded as this great tradition that a city is clinging to in order to keep its heritage.

I went to college in a state that was inundated with Spring Breakers. The folks who wanted to party even harder than that went to Mardi Gras. That was over ten years ago and even then they came back with scary tales and warnings to stick to about a 3 block radius in the French Quarter if you didn't want to risk serious bodily harm.

I cannot find evidence of it now, but I seem to remember there was a lot of media spin last year on how spring breaks have gotten out of control and the one they would lift up the most was New Orleans' own Mardi Gras.

So tell me, am I wrong about the reputation of New Orleans and Mardi Gras pre-Katrina? Am I just being a prude?

Or maybe Mardi Gras has finally been returned to the ones who treasured it the most, the people who live(d) there.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Deal?

I do not want to hear, see or say the word 'transfiguration' again for a very, very, very long time.

Capiche?

Deal?

I do not want to hear, see or say the word 'transfiguration' again for a very, very, very long time.

Capiche?

Friday, February 24, 2006

RevGalBlogPal Friday Five Meme - Friends

I've been reflecting this week on the gift of friendship, of people who will be there no matter what you need or when you need it. Sometimes a friend accompanies us through a dark place or dances with us through a joyful time or simply walks down the road of an ordinary time beside us.

Name five friends who have been there when you needed them.


TDH – I honestly do not think that there could be a better match than TDH and I. I could wax poetic, but I won’t. I think I’ll save that for an August post when we will celebrate our 10th anniversary.

The Onion Rings – Our best friends. We met in seminary and one of the cool things about our friendship is that looking back if we had not met in one way, we would have met in the other. First on my personal ‘to-do’ list at Greek summer class was to find a softball team to play on (I know I do better academically when I have an athletic outlet). Mr. OR was the manager… they also lived in our building. Mrs. OR was one of the few women that realized I was not after her husband just because I could speak ‘sports’ and my own husband was away for portions of the week working my way through seminary. She and I would waste away hours watching FRIENDS on tape – without commercials – so by the time the boys came home our brains were mush and our bladders were plenty full.

Now they live way too far away and we see each other twice a year. But we talk on the phone A LOT. They drove up to be with us when we lost Baby Snowpea and Mr. OR preached a sermon that is still requested by my parishioners when they are going through a trial.

For me they are once-in-a-lifetime friends.

The Mothering Crew – Like anyone, my teenage years were awkward. I was the kid who couldn’t shut her mouth, who laughed at her own jokes… loudly (okay I still do that), who asked to borrow the hair dryer so she could dry her underwear after swimming in the pool in her clothes, you get the point… Anyway, my home was my church and my friends were from there too. Mrs. A, Mrs. R and Mrs. W/F were mothers of my church friends who believed in me even – ESPECIALLY – when I did not.

One particularly hyper summer day I had bounced a little too enthusiastically off of one of their diving boards and ripped that board right off. For some reason it sent me into a tailspin (I can’t do anything right, I’m so ungraceful and ugly… those of you who were ever pre-teen girls you know the drill). The Mothering Crew gathered around me and consoled me and promised that one day my energy and laughter and drive would all make sense one day.

I really had forgotten all about that incident until all of them traveled from NE state to Southern state for our wedding. At the rehearsal dinner different people got up to share different things and these three women handed me a small package. Inside were the screws and the bolts from that diving board. They had purposefully saved them for my wedding day.

And what truly makes them great is that they all gave us really great wedding presents too!

Tiny Stewart – I am 5’10”, she is 4’11”. I love football, baseball and can boil water. She would not know a football from a baseball but can cook a seven course meal with her eyes closed and takes the time to do things like carve the butter into little hearts for Valentine's Day. She makes her own window treatments and can cross-stitch without a pattern. I sewed a button on once.

We are great friends and we made an excellent team in Youth Ministry since for some reason the tomboy youth director had a youth group filled with cheerleaders. I have spent hours with her in a 15 passenger van that smelled like dead rat, would not go over 60 (stupid governor), and was filled to the brim with teenagers of all ages either wanting to know if we were there yet, spraying body perfumes at the boys, or blissfully snoring while we tried to stay awake by finding a radio station - hard to do since the van did not have an antenna because the chair of the property committee did not think "radio was appropriate for driving safely."

From her I learned that all the surface stuff really does not matter when you have the same foundation – love for God, similar Call, etc… She was a member of the church that was great for me professionally but very lonely for me personally. She gave me family when my own was over a thousand miles away.

She was the first one from that town to meet TDH and it was to her that I reported, “I am going to marry that guy." She was the Maid of Honor in our wedding. In January we got to visit after a long time apart and I quickly repaid her for all she has meant to me by giving her a stomach virus. Oops.

Emerald Palace – This friendship is just beginning to bloom. Her daughter was born at the same time ours was lost and she grieved with us then and rejoices with us now that we have The Boy. She reads this blog and will probably hate that I posted this, but too bad.

She is funnier than she thinks, appropriately laughs at all my jokes, whip-smart, and does not mind when I steal er, borrow her ministry ideas. She is a great Mom and a great supporter of women. She lets me be snippy and cynical to her about some of our colleagues so that I do not say those things in public.

She is a lot of fun and although I know that one of us will eventually move to a different area I hope our friendship will continue to grow. (By the way, EP, the only real chance that actually has of happening is totally dependent on you never mentioning this out loud. I have a reputation to protect).


I preached on friends once in a sermon titled "That Corny Friends Song" - in reference to the Michael W. Smith number that we listened to ad nauseum on youth group retreats. The Onion Rings were in the congregation as they were about to move away.

Here is how I ended it: Friends provide: a sense of belonging, a bond of love, a place of understanding.

I know how precious friends are. They are a unique gift of life from God.


Thanks friends, including my new revgalblogpal friends and Songbird for this really fun, thought-provoking meme.

RevGalBlogPal Friday Five Meme - Friends

I've been reflecting this week on the gift of friendship, of people who will be there no matter what you need or when you need it. Sometimes a friend accompanies us through a dark place or dances with us through a joyful time or simply walks down the road of an ordinary time beside us.

Name five friends who have been there when you needed them.


TDH – I honestly do not think that there could be a better match than TDH and I. I could wax poetic, but I won’t. I think I’ll save that for an August post when we will celebrate our 10th anniversary.

The Onion Rings – Our best friends. We met in seminary and one of the cool things about our friendship is that looking back if we had not met in one way, we would have met in the other. First on my personal ‘to-do’ list at Greek summer class was to find a softball team to play on (I know I do better academically when I have an athletic outlet). Mr. OR was the manager… they also lived in our building. Mrs. OR was one of the few women that realized I was not after her husband just because I could speak ‘sports’ and my own husband was away for portions of the week working my way through seminary. She and I would waste away hours watching FRIENDS on tape – without commercials – so by the time the boys came home our brains were mush and our bladders were plenty full.

Now they live way too far away and we see each other twice a year. But we talk on the phone A LOT. They drove up to be with us when we lost Baby Snowpea and Mr. OR preached a sermon that is still requested by my parishioners when they are going through a trial.

For me they are once-in-a-lifetime friends.

The Mothering Crew – Like anyone, my teenage years were awkward. I was the kid who couldn’t shut her mouth, who laughed at her own jokes… loudly (okay I still do that), who asked to borrow the hair dryer so she could dry her underwear after swimming in the pool in her clothes, you get the point… Anyway, my home was my church and my friends were from there too. Mrs. A, Mrs. R and Mrs. W/F were mothers of my church friends who believed in me even – ESPECIALLY – when I did not.

One particularly hyper summer day I had bounced a little too enthusiastically off of one of their diving boards and ripped that board right off. For some reason it sent me into a tailspin (I can’t do anything right, I’m so ungraceful and ugly… those of you who were ever pre-teen girls you know the drill). The Mothering Crew gathered around me and consoled me and promised that one day my energy and laughter and drive would all make sense one day.

I really had forgotten all about that incident until all of them traveled from NE state to Southern state for our wedding. At the rehearsal dinner different people got up to share different things and these three women handed me a small package. Inside were the screws and the bolts from that diving board. They had purposefully saved them for my wedding day.

And what truly makes them great is that they all gave us really great wedding presents too!

Tiny Stewart – I am 5’10”, she is 4’11”. I love football, baseball and can boil water. She would not know a football from a baseball but can cook a seven course meal with her eyes closed and takes the time to do things like carve the butter into little hearts for Valentine's Day. She makes her own window treatments and can cross-stitch without a pattern. I sewed a button on once.

We are great friends and we made an excellent team in Youth Ministry since for some reason the tomboy youth director had a youth group filled with cheerleaders. I have spent hours with her in a 15 passenger van that smelled like dead rat, would not go over 60 (stupid governor), and was filled to the brim with teenagers of all ages either wanting to know if we were there yet, spraying body perfumes at the boys, or blissfully snoring while we tried to stay awake by finding a radio station - hard to do since the van did not have an antenna because the chair of the property committee did not think "radio was appropriate for driving safely."

From her I learned that all the surface stuff really does not matter when you have the same foundation – love for God, similar Call, etc… She was a member of the church that was great for me professionally but very lonely for me personally. She gave me family when my own was over a thousand miles away.

She was the first one from that town to meet TDH and it was to her that I reported, “I am going to marry that guy." She was the Maid of Honor in our wedding. In January we got to visit after a long time apart and I quickly repaid her for all she has meant to me by giving her a stomach virus. Oops.

Emerald Palace – This friendship is just beginning to bloom. Her daughter was born at the same time ours was lost and she grieved with us then and rejoices with us now that we have The Boy. She reads this blog and will probably hate that I posted this, but too bad.

She is funnier than she thinks, appropriately laughs at all my jokes, whip-smart, and does not mind when I steal er, borrow her ministry ideas. She is a great Mom and a great supporter of women. She lets me be snippy and cynical to her about some of our colleagues so that I do not say those things in public.

She is a lot of fun and although I know that one of us will eventually move to a different area I hope our friendship will continue to grow. (By the way, EP, the only real chance that actually has of happening is totally dependent on you never mentioning this out loud. I have a reputation to protect).


I preached on friends once in a sermon titled "That Corny Friends Song" - in reference to the Michael W. Smith number that we listened to ad nauseum on youth group retreats. The Onion Rings were in the congregation as they were about to move away.

Here is how I ended it: Friends provide: a sense of belonging, a bond of love, a place of understanding.

I know how precious friends are. They are a unique gift of life from God.


Thanks friends, including my new revgalblogpal friends and Songbird for this really fun, thought-provoking meme.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Random Thursday Thoughts

I'm babysitting again today.

TDH is off moving his parents into their new home... 15 minutes away from us.

My mother-in-law is a judgmental conservative who questions me on just about everything I do or say. Basically, her son was supposed to be the minister in the family, not his wife.
Every time TDH talks to her she asks if I do anything around the house. Every time he explains to her that I am the bread winner in our family and I do just plenty.

Every. Time.

And yet it is a good thing they are moving closer. It will be easier to check in on them as their health has been very shaky in recent years. I worry for TDH though. They put a lot of burden on him.

-----------------

My addendum to the Olympics mini-rant is to ask Scott Hamilton and Dick Button to tone it down just a little bit. I mean, do we really need three commentators when there is only one person on the ice? Scott and Dick, my nostalgia loves you but it is time to ssssshhhhhh.

-----------------

I love that having a one year old in the house means there are always plenty of graham crackers here. Graham crackers and milk is our favorite snack. And it makes me feel like a real Mom to sit at the table and eat them with him.

-----------------

I realize that there are a lot of societal reprecussions to the lottery. And who knows what will happen to the folks who just won in Nebraska. All I want to say is that I love that eight folks from a meat packing plant won the durn thing. And I love that the one guy said, "I've been retired for about four days now."

It just seems like an IRS manager or a Senator or an NBA basketball player are always winning those things... these folks seem like eight that could use the break.

------------------

Jo(e) made me cry today. I hope I will one day get to a point where I only think about The Boy's older sister once a year... well, maybe not.

------------------

I happen to know for a fact that right now the newsletter article and Sunday's sermon are NOT writing themselves.

Foreshadow

TDH is off moving his parents into their new home... 15 minutes away from us.

My mother-in-law is a judgmental conservative who questions me on just about everything I do or say. Basically, her son was supposed to be the minister in the family, not his wife.
Every time TDH talks to her she asks if I do anything around the house. Every time he explains to her that I am the bread winner in our family and I do just plenty.

Every. Time.

And yet it is a good thing they are moving closer. It will be easier to check in on them as their health has been very shaky in recent years. I worry for TDH though. They put a lot of burden on him.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Thoughts on the Olympics: A Mini-Rant

Bode Miller – I am ok with the whole I-grew-up-in-the-back- woods-without-electricity-so-I-am-a-bit-eccentric-and-don’t-care-about-winning thing. Really, I can deal with it...
until you sign a contract to shill for Nike.
At that point your job is to shut up and win. And if you don’t do the latter than you damn well better be sure you do the former.

Shani & Chad - Did you boys really want to use your 15 seconds of Olympic fame to be known as the prima donnas of men’s speed skating? You do realize that is now your legacy, right? Instead of Wheaties boxes your pictures should go on Prozac tablets.

Chad Hedrick – Have you not heard the fable about the Scorpion who bites the same one who helps him? It cannot change its nature nor can Shani. What part of him training in another country and never communicating with his US coaches or teammates made you think he would suddenly show up for the team event?

Shani Davis – Show up for the $*%&$# team event. I can see that it is not your role to give Chad Hendrick another medal, but how about the guys whose only chance for a medal was that team event. You broke the code man, you broke the code.

Emily Hughes – This young woman has been raised by a family who has taught her to never fear failure. You saw it in her sister and last night I saw it in her. In an event that practically invented the word ‘choke’ as pretty men and women were constantly falling on their ass, she just let it rip... and stayed on her feet. Sweet!

Sasha Cohen – Nice. Congratulations on putting yourself back together again.

NBC – You suck. The Today Show is you only saving grace. Do you really think that folks who are actually watching the Olympics only care about the US athletes? For instance, so what if Chad and Shani came in 2nd and 3rd – how about the fact that Enrico Fabris FROM THE HOST COUNTRY came away with the gold! There had to have been bedlam in the streets, not just Americans pouting in the press tent.

Thank you Al Trautwig, that will be enough of your fake German accent adding further insult to the fact that you were stereotyping.

Jim Lampley – I. Can. Hear. You. Please stop yelling at me.

Where’s Jim McKay when you need him?

Now, if you will excuse me,Elmo's World is on which means it is time for The Boy's bottle.

Don't you judge me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Adventures in Babysitting?

I have posted previously about my strained relationships with other women.

Yesterday in the midst of the frazzle (see post right below this one) a woman called asking for TDH. It was about church stuff. When I explained that he was not there she said, "Oh, are you babysitting today?"

ouch.

I know I am a tad bit unconventional, but I am still The Boy's M-O-M-M-Y.

Yet another reason why I should have stopped and bought a bottle of wine.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Frazzled

My nerves are shot. The Boy is fine, just fine but today at his 1 year well-visit he received three shots and a very violent 'how-do-you-do' from the dr. Sometimes on little circumcisions things stick when they are not supposed to stick. His Dad and I thought we had been vigilant about such things but apparantly not vigilant enough.

I need a stiff drink.

But again, he is fine. Playing quite happily now with his toys about to go nap.
Me too.

You know, I would have agreed with the below winter sport before this morning's appointment, but I am not feeling so tough now.

You Are Hockey

Tough, athletic, and not afraid of a fight.
You don't mind putting your body on the line!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

F*R*I*E*N*D*S

I just watched one of my favorite Friends episodes. It was the Thanksgiving one where Monica scratches her cornea (that’s not the funny part) and in the process of getting it checked she invites Richard’s (her older ex-boyfriend) son over for dinner. All of the friends are disgusted including Rachel who says, “It’s like inviting a Greek tragedy over for dinner.”

In response Monica points out to each of them their biggest mistakes:

Married a lesbian;
Left a man at the altar;
Fell in love with a gay ice dancer;
Threw a girl's wooden leg in the fire;
Livin' in a box!


(In order: Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler)

I love how she rattles them off and wonder what I would declare as I pointed at my friends and my family (I'm conveniently leaving myself out of this).

Married a peckerhead;
drank a box of wine;
Did naughty things to Niles;
Thinks 'lellow' is a color;
Worships the wall bunny!


No, I will not be naming them but I will let you know who I hear from first.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Through the Eyes of a Child

You never know how the life decisions we make will impact the generations to come. My sister-in-law was driving her four children out to our house a few years ago. It was dark and three out of the four were asleep. Her then six year old daughter had decided to stay up and help navigate.

As they approached the long driveway that leads up to the manse and the church parking lot blonde niece started to announce landmarks:
There’s Aunt Smama's driveway...
There’s Aunt Smama's house…
There’s Aunt Smama's graveyard…

My chosen vocation at times seems to deeply influence my nieces and nephews. I wonder how many non-pastors are dragged into the playroom so that we can all play church.

The same precocious niece is the director. Always. And instructs me to preach: “Okay, Aunt Smama you talk now.”
Trying to be witty I ask: “What should I say?”
Her reply...

“Oh you know, what you always say: blah, blah, blah.”

And then we get to the offering and she gets a plate from the play kitchen and runs up and down the imaginary aisle, diving at the dolls and toys that sit in the imaginary pews asking them, “Are you outta money? Are you outta money?”

(sigh)

Here is the bottom line for me - and it is a bottom line that I lean on quite a bit out here in rural land.

My niece is one of many that I will interact with throughout my life who now can never say, "A female pastor? I never heard of such a thing."

Through the Eyes of a Child

You never know how the life decisions we make will impact the generations to come. My sister-in-law was driving her four children out to our house a few years ago. It was dark and three out of the four were asleep. Her then six year old daughter had decided to stay up and help navigate.

As they approached the long driveway that leads up to the manse and the church parking lot blonde niece started to announce landmarks:
There’s Aunt Smama's driveway...
There’s Aunt Smama's house…
There’s Aunt Smama's graveyard…

My chosen vocation at times seems to deeply influence my nieces and nephews. I wonder how many non-pastors are dragged into the playroom so that we can all play church.

The same precocious niece is the director. Always. And instructs me to preach: “Okay, Aunt Smama you talk now.”
Trying to be witty I ask: “What should I say?”
Her reply...

“Oh you know, what you always say: blah, blah, blah.”

And then we get to the offering and she gets a plate from the play kitchen and runs up and down the imaginary aisle, diving at the dolls and toys that sit in the imaginary pews asking them, “Are you outta money? Are you outta money?”

(sigh)

Here is the bottom line for me - and it is a bottom line that I lean on quite a bit out here in rural land.

My niece is one of many that I will interact with throughout my life who now can never say, "A female pastor? I never heard of such a thing."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Non-Resolution

I do not make New Year’s resolutions.

Back in the day – a long, long, long… long time ago – I would work out in the gym in the morning. January was always a particularly frustrating time as those newly resolute would take up space and knock me off of my routine. It usually only took a week, 10 days max, to weed them out and things would get back to normal.

I also do not give up anything for Lent.

I grew up in a Catholic heavy area; so much so that our meals at the school cafeteria on Friday were fish or cheese pizza. No meat. Whenever the talks at the table came to who was giving up what for Lent I would respond, “You should be Presbyterian. We don’t have to give up anything for Lent.”

Practical evangelism at its finest.

Benchmark occasions have never given me incentive to improve my behavior. Final proof of that can be found in my lack of response to my Mom’s yearly encouragement at the beginning of the school year to, “Turn over a new leaf.” Her way of subtley saying, "How 'bout doing some homework there kiddo?"

Just because I do not recognize an official kick-off time to improving myself does not mean that I am not interested. I really do try to work on myself as much as possible.

One of my challenges is organization. I am not naturally organized, observant or detail oriented. Any organization I have is because I purposefully do it and work at it. I diligently keep a calendar that has both monthly and weekly attributes. I write a ‘to do’ list at night and through the next day. (This may be why I get unreasonably mad at folks who miss things or are late with things because they are not as vigilant with their calendars. If I have to work at it, then the people I work with should have to too.)

One of my frustrations has been a messy desk. I am constantly multi-tasking sometimes in a healthy way and sometimes in a way to avoid the original activity that I am supposed to be doing. I am definitely one for working on my sermon all the while checking email, bloglines and the revgalblogpals website at 30 second intervals. I will also have other things I should be doing run through my mind and I will either do them right then or there or write them down on my list.

When I am done for the day I justify leaving my desk in a pile of uncompleted tasks because I will be hitting that same pile anyway in the morning. Even when I cleaned off the current mess there were still ‘to do’ piles since it was stuff that had nowhere to go so they stayed.

I was tired of the clutter, but unsure of what to do about it.

Then last week I met with a friend of mine in a high position and his desk was absolutely spotless. There was nothing on it. I asked him about it and after I convinced him I was not teasing him he shared his secret with me.

He has a drawer that he puts the ‘unfileables’ in as well as his list for the next day. He will not ignore the drawer because that is where his list of things to do is.

So, I am giving it a try.










Now, granted it is not spotless. He has a separate area for pictures of his loved ones, I do not. The bulletin board is quite the hodge podge and I would love for my printer to be somewhere else.

More importantly though I have added two things to his process:

1) The Bible. At my ordination a pastor friend of mine gave me this piece of advice, “Always have the Bible on your desk.” There were numerous reasons for this and I am sticking with it.

2)In my unfileable/to do drawer I have placed on the top of the pile my current devotional read and my prayer notebook. It is my hope that when I come into work and open this drawer first I will then do my devotional and prayer time first.

He called his clean desk a discipline. I will call it that too although I am guessing from his other organizational skills that it will be more so for me than it is for him.

It does take some planning ahead as there is a fine line between getting things into place for the next day and quickly chucking things into a drawer!

So far though, so good. I am looking forward to the daily challenge of it and I am encouraged by how much better I feel entering and exiting my office now.

I think that is the key. We should not necessarily do things because society says it is the day to do it or a book lists it as the 4th way to be highly effective. Sometimes it is okay to do things just because it works for us. My messy desk was no longer working for me so I changed it.

That was my advice for me and Friday, February 10th was the day I decided to implement it.

What works for you?

The Non-Resolution

I do not make New Year’s resolutions.

Back in the day – a long, long, long… long time ago – I would work out in the gym in the morning. January was always a particularly frustrating time as those newly resolute would take up space and knock me off of my routine. It usually only took a week, 10 days max, to weed them out and things would get back to normal.

I also do not give up anything for Lent.

I grew up in a Catholic heavy area; so much so that our meals at the school cafeteria on Friday were fish or cheese pizza. No meat. Whenever the talks at the table came to who was giving up what for Lent I would respond, “You should be Presbyterian. We don’t have to give up anything for Lent.”

Practical evangelism at its finest.

Benchmark occasions have never given me incentive to improve my behavior. Final proof of that can be found in my lack of response to my Mom’s yearly encouragement at the beginning of the school year to, “Turn over a new leaf.” Her way of subtley saying, "How 'bout doing some homework there kiddo?"

Just because I do not recognize an official kick-off time to improving myself does not mean that I am not interested. I really do try to work on myself as much as possible.

One of my challenges is organization. I am not naturally organized, observant or detail oriented. Any organization I have is because I purposefully do it and work at it. I diligently keep a calendar that has both monthly and weekly attributes. I write a ‘to do’ list at night and through the next day. (This may be why I get unreasonably mad at folks who miss things or are late with things because they are not as vigilant with their calendars. If I have to work at it, then the people I work with should have to too.)

One of my frustrations has been a messy desk. I am constantly multi-tasking sometimes in a healthy way and sometimes in a way to avoid the original activity that I am supposed to be doing. I am definitely one for working on my sermon all the while checking email, bloglines and the revgalblogpals website at 30 second intervals. I will also have other things I should be doing run through my mind and I will either do them right then or there or write them down on my list.

When I am done for the day I justify leaving my desk in a pile of uncompleted tasks because I will be hitting that same pile anyway in the morning. Even when I cleaned off the current mess there were still ‘to do’ piles since it was stuff that had nowhere to go so they stayed.

I was tired of the clutter, but unsure of what to do about it.

Then last week I met with a friend of mine in a high position and his desk was absolutely spotless. There was nothing on it. I asked him about it and after I convinced him I was not teasing him he shared his secret with me.

He has a drawer that he puts the ‘unfileables’ in as well as his list for the next day. He will not ignore the drawer because that is where his list of things to do is.

So, I am giving it a try.










Now, granted it is not spotless. He has a separate area for pictures of his loved ones, I do not. The bulletin board is quite the hodge podge and I would love for my printer to be somewhere else.

More importantly though I have added two things to his process:

1) The Bible. At my ordination a pastor friend of mine gave me this piece of advice, “Always have the Bible on your desk.” There were numerous reasons for this and I am sticking with it.

2)In my unfileable/to do drawer I have placed on the top of the pile my current devotional read and my prayer notebook. It is my hope that when I come into work and open this drawer first I will then do my devotional and prayer time first.

He called his clean desk a discipline. I will call it that too although I am guessing from his other organizational skills that it will be more so for me than it is for him.

It does take some planning ahead as there is a fine line between getting things into place for the next day and quickly chucking things into a drawer!

So far though, so good. I am looking forward to the daily challenge of it and I am encouraged by how much better I feel entering and exiting my office now.

I think that is the key. We should not necessarily do things because society says it is the day to do it or a book lists it as the 4th way to be highly effective. Sometimes it is okay to do things just because it works for us. My messy desk was no longer working for me so I changed it.

That was my advice for me and Friday, February 10th was the day I decided to implement it.

What works for you?

Monday, February 13, 2006

This One's for You...

With thanks to Phantom Scribbler:

If there is someone on your blogroll who makes your world a better place just because that person exists and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the internet, then post this same sentence on your blog.

Well, duh...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Dynamics of a Sunday Morning Snow Day

You cannot take the kid out of the pastor so my initial reaction when someone else in authority made the call last night to cancel church was, “WHEE!!!”

There are some reprecussions though…

- We miss out on one week of offering. Sure some folks tithe and give a set amount whether they are here or not, but a lot of folks give “loose” offering.

- All activities for next weekend do not have the previous Sunday lead-in. We are doing a supper fundraiser on Saturday and a Valentine’s breakfast on Sunday next week and we lose today’s opportunity to get more folks to volunteer and/or sign up for those events.

- Rescheduling today’s activities. It was going to be a busy Sunday – 9 new members joining including one by baptism, our annual congregational meeting following the service, and some special music in worship.

- Getting the word out. A mass email went out, our phone chain called, I personally called everyone who has been visiting lately but is not on the official phone chain yet (our phone chain runs through the deacons, each of them have a Care Group list consisting of members of the congregation and consistent visitors). STILL there will be one who did not get the word and decides to come to church this morning… meanwhile there will be others who get the word 5 different ways.

- The grumpy die-hards. Our roots are rural, country, farmers. Rural, country farmers are tough and a little snow ain’t gonna keep them from church. In fact, it is a reason to be SURE to get to church just to see if the other rural, country farmers make it too. They get very sore when we cancel. The great irony being that it is because of them that we do cancel. You see our rural, country, farmers are mainly in their 70’s or over these days and yet they will come to church with the parking lot icy and park in their normal spot as far away from the Sanctuary as possible (so back in the day they could get out of the lot the fastest in order to get back to the cows but now it is just out of habit). I cannot have their broken hip on my conscience.

- The guilt is starting to build up now because it is 10am and we are all plowed and shoveled. With the snow hitting the parking lot, the ice and slush is melting fairly quickly… huh.

Overall though I think it is a good thing. I am hoping folks are taking the opportunity to have a serendipitous moment with their families and friends. I know TDH and I are having the youth group and anyone else who wants to come over here and play in the snow and watch movies and drink hot chocolate and eat something (I haven’t figured out that part yet).

And to me that is what snow days are really all about. An unplanned free day where the enjoyment levels are sure to exceed the expectations because there were never any in the first place.

Dynamics of a Sunday Morning Snow Day

You cannot take the kid out of the pastor so my initial reaction when someone else in authority made the call last night to cancel church was, “WHEE!!!”

There are some reprecussions though…

- We miss out on one week of offering. Sure some folks tithe and give a set amount whether they are here or not, but a lot of folks give “loose” offering.

- All activities for next weekend do not have the previous Sunday lead-in. We are doing a supper fundraiser on Saturday and a Valentine’s breakfast on Sunday next week and we lose today’s opportunity to get more folks to volunteer and/or sign up for those events.

- Rescheduling today’s activities. It was going to be a busy Sunday – 9 new members joining including one by baptism, our annual congregational meeting following the service, and some special music in worship.

- Getting the word out. A mass email went out, our phone chain called, I personally called everyone who has been visiting lately but is not on the official phone chain yet (our phone chain runs through the deacons, each of them have a Care Group list consisting of members of the congregation and consistent visitors). STILL there will be one who did not get the word and decides to come to church this morning… meanwhile there will be others who get the word 5 different ways.

- The grumpy die-hards. Our roots are rural, country, farmers. Rural, country farmers are tough and a little snow ain’t gonna keep them from church. In fact, it is a reason to be SURE to get to church just to see if the other rural, country farmers make it too. They get very sore when we cancel. The great irony being that it is because of them that we do cancel. You see our rural, country, farmers are mainly in their 70’s or over these days and yet they will come to church with the parking lot icy and park in their normal spot as far away from the Sanctuary as possible (so back in the day they could get out of the lot the fastest in order to get back to the cows but now it is just out of habit). I cannot have their broken hip on my conscience.

- The guilt is starting to build up now because it is 10am and we are all plowed and shoveled. With the snow hitting the parking lot, the ice and slush is melting fairly quickly… huh.

Overall though I think it is a good thing. I am hoping folks are taking the opportunity to have a serendipitous moment with their families and friends. I know TDH and I are having the youth group and anyone else who wants to come over here and play in the snow and watch movies and drink hot chocolate and eat something (I haven’t figured out that part yet).

And to me that is what snow days are really all about. An unplanned free day where the enjoyment levels are sure to exceed the expectations because there were never any in the first place.

SNOW DAY!!!

Beloved Children of God,

Because of concerns for the safety of traveling parishioners due to icy
roads, snow drifts and high winds, Sunday School and Worship service for
Sunday, February 12, 2006 have been cancelled.

Please enjoy this Sabbath day with your family.

Peace be with You,
Pastor
Clerk of Session

I do wonder if we should have only cancelled Sunday School and done worship at its usual time, 10:30. I did not ultimately make the call though so the real question becomes: will I write another sermon this week so I am actually one ahead?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Celebratory Five Meme

Oh yeah, baby! I finally finished my five devotionals for the Ordinary Time book. Thank you Reverend Mommy and other editors for not coming after me with torches and clubs.

In celebration I have had this baby sitting around for awhile now, thanks to songbird...

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Than add your blog to the bottom slot, like so.
Right... I’m so late on this that I am guessing everyone who wanted to be tagged for this, already has been. If not, consider yourself tagged.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
February, 1996? I was flying high and starting to plan our wedding (yeah, yeah and the marriage too). We met in September, we were engaged February 1 and we got married on August 24th. That’s right, we were married before we knew each other for a year.
Hey, when you know, you know.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Arriving home with a very sore belly and a newborn. It was unseasonably warm here so after months of debate over what The Boy would wear home he ended up in a onesie, a hat, and the cover over the baby seat. I rode in the back with him and I still remember TDH and I marveling that they had let us leave with the little guy. I mean what the heck did we know about babies?!

Five snacks you enjoy
1. Peppermint ice cream
2. Fig Newtons (especially on long car trips)
3. French Onion Soup
4. Applesauce cake (Gram recipe)
5. Late night brownies and milk (a late night, rare treat when TDH and I both stay up too late and have rumblies in our tumblies)

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics
1. You May be Right – Billy Joel
2. The Last Duet – Barry Manilow & Lilly Tomlin
3. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…) I actually sang this to The Boy when he was a baby and I was in a panic. I couldn’t think of anything else.
4. A LOT of the first verses of hymns
5. Wild Thing by Tone Loc (it was popular when I was in college)

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire
1. Get us and as many of our friends and family as possible out of debt
2. Beach house… I can smell the ocean air already.
3. Assist my friend in the pregnancy/adoption process
4. Hire a cleaning service - Yikes, I am burning through this million pretty quick
5. Buy my pick up truck back

Five bad habits
1. Chewing my fingers
2. Cynicism
3. Staying up too late
4. Late afternoon procrastination
5. Flicking on the bedroom tv even when I am just running up to change my clothes

Five things you like doing
1. blogging
2. watching tv. There, I wrote it. I like tv.
3. knitting
4. Playing with The Boy – especially after a long day at work.
5. Getting a massage

Five things you would never wear again
1. Mini-skirt (oh, you said again. I’m not sure I ever wore one of those. )
2. Drop waist dress. There was a time when I looked good in that… this is no longer that time.
3. Halter tip (low risk there since the last time I wore one I was 5
4. My old glasses – lense popped out and left earpiece missing… oh yeah, did I forget to mention the thick purple frames?
5. Rings on my left ring finger

Five favorite toys
1. Laptop
2. Digital camera, although my Mom is annoyed this will mean not too many professional pictures of her grandson
3. Netflix!! Although my husband is one of those frugal guys who wants us to make sure it remains a 'good deal' so we have to watch the movies right away so we can send it back and get a new one whereas I am like 'oooh, a movie just came in the mail! How cool is that?!?!'
4. The Boy’s SpongeBob Squarepants ball – he screams for joy every time he rolls it to me
5. My foam mattress bed especially now in winter that it has flannel sheets on it. True, not technically toy but I was trying to think of things I couldn’t wait to get into!

Thanks for celebrating with me. I am going to reintroduce myself to my son. I hear he turned one while I was away in overwhelmed land!

Temporarily Out of Service

There will be no further postings until the Ordinary Time submissions are done.

2 down, 3 to go.

3 down, 2 to go.

4 down, 1 to go.

5 down, 0 to go!!!

I AM DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 10, 2006

I Couldn't Resist

I have been such a good little worker bee today (1 more devotional done; 1 sermon almost done) that I decided to have me a post. I have seen this at other places, but I finally took the bait thanks to Gord.


If you were in an orchestra, what instrument would match your personality?
created with QuizFarm.com

French Horn

92%

Oboe

83%

Bassoon

83%

Trumpet

50%

Tuba

42%

trombone

42%

Flute

33%

Viola

33%

Violin

33%

Cello

25%

Clarinet

25%

String Bass

25%

Percussion

17%

If you were in an orchestra, what instrument would match your personality?
created with QuizFarm.com

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Birthday Bump



The bump is thanks to not one, but two falls on the same spot on his head. Apparantly he has read the Toddler Manual which states "Thou shalt have a visible wound on thy head on the date of any occasion where volumes of photos will be taken."

Those of you who are observant will also take note that the picture is dated the day after his birthday. I would like to tell you that this is because of a faulty camera date, but in truth his happiness and my availability did not coordinate until the day after his birthday. Happy Birthday you poor little PK.

Saturday, February 4, 2006

Happy Birthday Little Boy!


One year ago today I heard the sweetest sound of my life.

It was a Friday and we were 3 days away from our scheduled c-section for Baby Breech (actually we called him Baby Nutter Butter; we have named our children in utero. Our daughter is Baby Snowpea). We went in to see our Dr. which was not at all unusual; we had been going in twice a week since the beginning of December for stress tests, heartbeat counts and ultrasounds. When you lose your first for no apparent reason they keep a really close eye on you.

I remember when they called me in early December to tell me the twice a week plan and I told them that is great, thank you, I understand the need and we will be there…. But do you know what I do for a living?

By February 4th we knew we had a healthy baby boy in there who liked to push up with his feet and implant his head into Mommy’s ribs. Ouch!

So we went in on Friday and heard the heartbeat and then went for the ultrasound. The doctor stared long and hard at the screen… while I tried not to panic. You see, we had been there before. I was confused too though because I could feel The Boy moving around in there. Everything had to be alright, didn’t it?

The Dr. stepped back and I asked the question that I had a hard time pushing through my lips since I had asked it once before: “Is everything alright?”

Dr: He looks great, but the fluid levels around him have dropped.
TDH: (all of the sudden channeling every hospital show he as ever seen) Do we need to go in there and get him? (Seriously, looking back this is so funny. We’re lucky the guy didn’t scrub up right then and and try to dig The Boy out with a tongue depresser!)
Dr: Yeah, I think that would be a good plan.

My first thought: Wow!
My second thought: Thank GOD, because my sermon for Sunday SUCKS!
At that point my sermon was titled, “I am so freakin’ huge please get this kid out of me!”

So TDH and I headed on over to the hospital making calls as we went. We called the Church Administrative Assistant to tell her to call the parishioners who were my preaching back-ups (one of whom I had emailed that morning to say it looked like he was off the hook). We called my Mom whose response was, “Now?!” (in her defense she had an all day meeting scheduled… one you had better believe she left early.)

We then decided that there was enough time to send TDH home for my overnight bag and our new digital camera. He of the midwestern origin and known for taaaaaking hiiiiiiiis timmmme made a one hour round trip (including grabbing stuff at the house on his list) in about 30 minutes!

Five minutes before they wheeled me into the delivery room I taught him how to use our new camera.

We went through the prep process and a sheet was put up so that we could see nothing of what was going on… and then we heard it.

We had been in a delivery room before. We had gone through a long and intense, forced labor and the only sounds to be heard were our own tears. But this time was different.

This time we heard a healthy outburst in one short trumpet blast, “Wah!” We caught our breathe, stared at each other and then listened as our Boy let the whole world know he was in the room… and healthy!

That was the sweetest sound of my life.















Happy Birthday little man. You have transformed our lives for the better. We love you!

Happy Birthday Little Man!

One year ago today I heard the sweetest sound of my life.

It was a Friday and we were 3 days away from our scheduled c-section for Baby Breech (actually we called him Baby Nutter Butter; we have named our children in utero. Our daughter is Baby Snowpea). We went in to see our Dr. which was not at all unusual; we had been going in twice a week since the beginning of December for stress tests, heartbeat counts and ultrasounds. When you lose your first for no apparent reason they keep a really close eye on you.

I remember when they called me in early December to tell me the twice a week plan and I told them that is great, thank you, I understand the need and we will be there…. But do you know what I do for a living?

By February 4th we knew we had a healthy baby boy in there who liked to push up with his feet and implant his head into Mommy’s ribs. Ouch!

So we went in on Friday and heard the heartbeat and then went for the ultrasound. The doctor stared long and hard at the screen… while I tried not to panic. You see, we had been there before. I was confused too though because I could feel The Boy moving around in there. Everything had to be alright, didn’t it?

The Dr. stepped back and I asked the question that I had a hard time pushing through my lips since I had asked it once before: “Is everything alright?”

Dr: He looks great, but the fluid levels around him have dropped.
TDH: (all of the sudden channeling every hospital show he as ever seen) Do we need to go in there and get him? (Seriously, looking back this is so funny. We’re lucky the guy didn’t scrub up right then and and try to dig The Boy out with a tongue depresser!)
Dr: Yeah, I think that would be a good plan.

My first thought: Wow!
My second thought: Thank GOD, because my sermon for Sunday SUCKS!
At that point my sermon was titled, “I am so freakin’ huge please get this kid out of me!”

So TDH and I headed on over to the hospital making calls as we went. We called the Church Administrative Assistant to tell her to call the parishioners who were my preaching back-ups (one of whom I had emailed that morning to say it looked like he was off the hook). We called my Mom whose response was, “Now?!” (in her defense she had an all day meeting scheduled… one you had better believe she left early.)

We then decided that there was enough time to send TDH home for my overnight bag and our new digital camera. He of the midwestern origin and known for taaaaaking hiiiiiiiis timmmme made a one hour round trip (including grabbing stuff at the house on his list) in about 30 minutes!

Five minutes before they wheeled me into the delivery room I taught him how to use our new camera.

We went through the prep process and a sheet was put up so that we could see nothing of what was going on… and then we heard it.

We had been in a delivery room before. We had gone through a long and intense, forced labor and the only sounds to be heard were our own tears. But this time was different.

This time we heard a healthy outburst in one short trumpet blast, “Wah!” We caught our breathe, stared at each other and then listened as our Boy let the whole world know he was in the room… and healthy!

That was the sweetest sound of my life.






Happy Birthday little man. You have transformed our lives for the better. We love you!