Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sore. Frustrated. Grateful.

I am sore this evening because this afternoon at an on-ramp when I had to brake the woman in back of me decided to accelerate.

I am frustrated this evening because she left the scene and although I got her license plate my guess is she is going to get away with this.

But mostly I am grateful this evening. I am grateful my son wasn't in the car. I am grateful that I can walk to work. I am grateful that the loss of one car won't mean the loss of one income.

We are very lucky.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

P.U.

You know the spread stench is bad when it causes one of the members of your church who is a farmer TO GAG! Note to evil spreader: please refrain from choosing hideously humid and stagnant day to spread your vile potion.

Please go here to see the proper definition of spread.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

LATE Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Back-to-School Edition

Because it was too good not to come back to (for me anyway) here is the revgal's Friday Five:

My late mother-in-law thought of September as the “real” New Year because of the number of programs and classes starting. By Labor Day, school is back in session for most of us in the U.S., although there is great variation by region (my children don't return until Sept. 7th!). To mark this, we bring you the Back to School Friday Five.

1. What is your earliest memory of school?
Nursery School - truly the best two years of my life. I remember trucks, fingerpaint, unconditional love and weak craft projects made in a rush because I desperately wanted to get back to the trucks before the boys took all of the good ones (who knew that these crafts were actually exercises for the small motor skills that I now decidedly do not have). This is also where I was introduced to the wonder that is a Big Wheels. Still my favorite Christmas present EVER.

2. Who was a favorite teacher?
I have edited this question from its original version. My favorite teachers arrived my senior year in high school when the school district started a new program designed to get young people into teaching. The deal was they could come straight in and teach from their majors and they would take teacher certification classes throughout the year in order to complete that part of the process.

So my English teacher graduated from Harvard having majored in English. My Sociology teacher had majored in sociology. My chemistry teacher (yes, I was still in chemistry as a senior - had to take Earth Science twice) majored in chemistry. I think you get the point. I am not sure if the best part was that they were so young and still passionate about what they were teaching or that they were only 4 years older than us so it felt like they totally got us. I worked really hard for those teachers and that is saying something (did you not just read that I had to take Earth Science twice?).


3. What do you remember about school “back then” that is different from what you know about schools now?
Kids. They're just mean. The girls especially. The shift happened somewhere in the five years between my sister and me. Kids were not always nice by any means when I was younger, but there was still an innocence to it. Maybe memory has made things seem better than it was, but it seems like the things that I went through fell under the 'kids will be kids' category whereas now with the internet and chat rooms and permissive parents things are more likely to fit into the 'could be prosecuted by law' category.

4. Did you have to memorize in school? If so, share a poem or song you learned.
No. But I could sing a song we learned in Spanish called Mi Caballo Blanco . Weird since if I had remembered anything else from Spanish a bit more helpful then maybe I wouldn't have had to take the same level for eight years. That's right... I took Spanish One (uno) for 8 years.

5. Did you ever get in trouble at school? Were there any embarrassing moments you can share?
There is no end to my stories surrounding these two questions. Yes, I got in trouble - nothing major. A couple of stupid fights here, irritating a substitute teacher there... nothing major. As for embarrassing moments - well, how about the time I spent the entire 6th grade square dance with my zipper down? Finally a teacher laughing hysterically told me... about five minutes before my Mom picked me up.

Or another shining moment from my personal lowlight reel: going to the bathroom with no lock on the stall door. The popular girls come in and I don't want them to walk in on me so I quickly kick my foot out to hold the door shut.... only the door kicks open.

Thank you for allowing me to relive that one... think I'll go back to the nursery school memories if you don't mind.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Evening Stuff

Home from the church retreat. For the first time we stayed overnight both nights. Some thoughts:

--- It seems like it took us longer to get all packed up and going than the retreat actually lasted.

--- Lasting Memories include The Boy's first toad sighting, his first campfire, and during a rough first night I laid him on my chest in bed with me - something I haven't done since he moved into a crib - and at one point we both roused a little bit and he looked up at me, smiled and said, "Hi" as soft as could be. I will NEVER forget it.

--- On a different note I will also never forget the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realized Mr. Grumpy was staying for worship and all I had for sermon time was a passage from Ephesians, an equipment bag filled with catcher's gear and a vague idea about how I thought they would fit together.

--- I try not to put too much focus on those who refuse to come out to join us for this thing and instead focus on those that do but that is not always easy. As I stated here over a year ago: the retreat site is about 20 minutes away, it is not overscheduled yet there is plenty to do if you choose, folks are invited to come up for the entire weekend, just for a day or even part of a day.

--- That's enough for now.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Unplugged Weekend

Rushing out to all church retreat.

No Friday Five

No Saturday Sermon party

No. Sermon!

Peace, friends... have a good weekend.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Brief Timeline

August 1995 - A friend tells them each about the other. She is dating someone else, he lists 'wife' on his 30th birthday wishlist.

September 1995 -
Her break-up is done and they correspond back and forth. Eventually she drives 2 hours for a visit. He is not 500 pounds with volcaneous fissures on his countenance as she figures any male of 30 who works in a church and is not married must be (she has been to the youth events - she knows they are meat markets for the youth leaders and there was nothing ever there that she wanted to 'buy').

Infamous Quote:
Him (shakes her hand as she is getting in the car): Well, you'll be hearing from me.
Her: I didn't realize I was interviewing.

First Official Date: Her grandfather's brother's Memorial Service and Country Club reception.

Christmas 1995: He meets her grandparents and gives her a stuffed bear (it's cuter than it sounds) inducing this...

Classic Gram quote: He is so cute and seems to really like you... and this bear he gave you is nice too.

February 1, 1996: They are engaged!

August 24, 1996: The wedding

Ever Since: The marriage

Happy 10th Anniversary TDH!!

Funny Cuz it's True?

Wow, a lot of humbling comments left after my last post. Thank you - I appreciate your confidence in the Call God has given me. In light of those I could use that momentum and turn this blog towards the Light and use it only for deep, theological reflections and mature discussion....

NAH!!!

4 words to describe the reason behind the most recent break-up between a certain production studio and its star:

There. is. no. baby.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

An Honest Grief

The funeral for the matriarch of a family is today. Actually it is a Memorial Service since she was cremated and her ashes will already be interred in the ground (my friend said the word now is 'inerred' if the ashes are being put in the ground, but I couldn't find that in a dictionary anywhere).

The cemetary is in my side yard. The church owns it therefore the rules are a bit looser than they might be at a place that is in it solely for the business. For instance, if the hole needed is only for ashes then we do not hire it out at $300 a pop. One of our church leaders will dig it. I have even found myself out there helping (voluntarily).

This time the eldest son of the deceased asked if he could dig it. He is in his 50's and in good shape - still I wanted to make perfectly clear that this was not the family's responsibility. He understood and last night he showed up to dig it.

After I showed him the measurements I left him only returning once to bring out water and make sure he was okay. There are no windows on that side of the manse to see into the cemetary so he had his privacy.

I envied him being able to at least partially work through his grief by doing something physical for his mother.

In this day and age death (along with everything else) has been sanitized to make it more palatable and dare-I-say more marketable. Even the graveside services have temporary canopies, fake green rugs and other ornamentation making it so you really have to look to even find any dirt. For some this is a good thing, but I think for others they end up missing something whether they would be able to actually name it out loud or not.

I am glad at this moment, at this rural church we were able to give a grieving son a way to mourn that made sense to him.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Calling Their Bluff

At my review the other night it was mentioned to me that they thought if I came - and stayed for the entirety - of all church events and did visits, most folks wouldn't care if I ran out of time in the week because of those things and had no sermon on Sunday.

I just might have to call them on that.

Today the woman I mentioned in the post below finally left this earthly kingdom; a week after we had all been called in the first time.

What an honor it is to stand with a family in a raw time such as this.

And since some of us have been involved in a certain theme the last couple of days I got the call and drove to the nursing home directly from my parents where I was helping remove wallpaper border. I was wearing sneakers with dirt and paint, blue gym shorts, a new maroon Zoot's Food & Scoops t-shirt that the youth group got me on their last mission trip, and a dirty, sweat-stained baseball cap. My "perfume" was the sublte mix of wallpaper paste, wallpaper paste remover, and eau de b.o. I wore no earrings.

Just thought you should know.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Because Sometimes It is Appropriate

I have been standing vigil with a family at the bedside of their mother/grandmother. She long ago lost her mind to Alzheimer's and now has had no sustenance since last Wednesday (9 days ago). Three times now the family has been called in for her imminent departure only for everyone to finally straggle home, tired and drained, wondering what - if anything - she is waiting for. Last night I was with them from about 10pm until 5am.

If you have been involved in these things then you know things can swing from gravely serious to almost giddy as family members share stories and ease the tension by laughing at silly things.

Last night we laughed the hardest when one of the sons read out loud the pitching matchup for today's Yankees vs. Red Sox game:

Wang vs. Johnson (insert immature Beavis and Butthead laughter here)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Review

It went well. Compared to 'skewerings' in the past it was heavenly. There is new leadership on personnel and a new approach to things that was much more constructive and filled with dialogue. Still no word yet on salary increase... I think we should have discussed that, but the system can't be perfect from the get-go.

We laid out a couple of goals revolving around well visits and being available through the duration of all church events. I am chewing on those goals and slowly coming to grips with them. I might compromise on the latter and be around for the majority of the event and if that is negatively reflected in my reviews next year so be it.

You see when we have a fundraiser supper at our church it goes for six hours. And I have a deep aversion to small talk for the sake of small talk especially with octogenarians who already go to other churches and especially for six hours... I mean, what is the point? (Please don't answer that in the comments, I know what the points are - I am just whining here so I can be a grown up 'out there').

Anyway, all that said it was the best personnel meeting I have had here in five years. Interesting since all of the others included a meal out.

Have a good day all and thanks for thinking about me.

Now that's more like it!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Minor Stress

There are far more stressful things going on throughout the world and even throughout my favorite webring. But, tonight is my personnel review and for me that is a stress.


And I thought I was stressed!

Monday, August 14, 2006

To Paraphrase...

Finding ecumenical books about God - heartwarming.

Ordering in bulk for your friends and their children - exhilirating.

Hearing your conservative, evangelical father-in-law read these words out loud: "The young woman who nursed her baby called God Mother..."


Priceless.

What is God's Name?

Generations

At the same conference where I met this guy I also took a class on generations. I hadn't done much study on this issue before although I had noticed that I rarely had trouble with the WWII generation, but instead their sons and daughters would give me grief.

The class really affirmed some of the things I had seen in the varying generations. The silent generation is the one following the Greatest Generation. They are big on things not changing and not giving to the church either. They brought their kids to church, but once they graduated these folks are not necessarily involved any more. Getting them excited about a project - especially a stewardship project - is like pulling teeth.

Then come the Boomers and then come the Gen-Xers and then we have the Millenials.

Here is why this is important. According to this theory, every fourth generation is a hero generation. In the past that has meant that generation went to war. The WWII generation was the last hero generation.

According to this theory the children born in the 80's and 90's and I even stretch it into the 00's are the next hero generation. Hard to believe that when my son just spent 30 minutes screaming at the top of his lungs because we ran out of Cheerios (he's 18 months).
However, if I allow myself to hope, I can see glimmers of why these kids just may be heros.

These are kids raised in a shrinking world where with just a few keyboard strokes you can become friends with someone on the other side of the world. These are kids growing up when even the most conservative are starting to recognize that there just might be something to that whole global warming theory. These are kids being raised with instant access to the news of wars and images of innocent people fleeing rather than it being an evening news event, which somehow seemed to make it special and heroic.

Where I find the most hope is as I spin around the blogging community and realize that a lot of children right now are being raise by women who are confident in who they are and genuine about who they want their children to be.

This generation is being raised in a world that has definitely gone wrong in a lot of places and hopefully they will see and they will learn and they will become the next Great Generation.

We can only hope.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Anniverary: A Little Less Dizzy

In honor of my one year blogger anniversary here is my almost first post:

I have been pastor of a rural pcusa congregation for almost 4 years now. It is my first ordained call. We have been through the honeymoon stage. We have been through the timid stage. We have been through the defensive, taking everything too personally stage... okay, who ever really gets through THAT stage.Now we are in the confident, what am I being called to do in this community with this congregation phase.Sounds arrogant, doesn't it? You can say it does. Basically at this point in my ministry all I can confidently say is that I am a little less dizzy, a little more busy, and a lot hoping that I can keep my own agenda out of the way of the higher cause.

One year later things are about the same... well except that I have been here almost 5 years now.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Fruit of the Spirit

From reverend mother:

Well, those of us in the United States are on high alert for air travel. Thank heaven, it appears that a huge disaster has been averted. Meanwhile, dreadful conflicts continue in the Middle East and around the world. We here at RGBP certainly hope and pray for safety, peace and fullness of life for all the peoples of the world.

Galatians 5 describes the fruit of the Spirit. With all the sadness and despair out there, we certainly need it! So, the Friday Five is simple. Pick any five of the following attributes and go wherever the Spirit leads you... your choice! Suggestions: When have you experienced this attribute? When have you struggled with it? Or who embodies it for you?

Or if you're feeling light-hearted--just assign a fruit to each one. I think Generosity is a Banana, don't you?


I'm going to go with...

Love - Pomegranate. It's messy and sweet and hopefully has plenty of seeds to keep the love going.

Joy - I respect this in a person when it is genuine. I have a nose for fraudulent joy... and I think it stinks. There are a lot of women out there who think this is what they need to project at all times and I struggle with that... a lot. I have met those who seem to have real joy at the core of their being. None of them are American... or even living in a first world country. Gets one thinking, that's for sure.

Peace

Patience - Anyone that had to deal with me as a child and even into the youth stages of my life probably fits in this category.

Kindness

Generosity - How about the folks who do not work in the church but do volunteer their time for VBS. I thought about that a lot this week. Sure I was tired, but I spent my days around folks who understood what I meant when I rolled my eyes and said "VBS week". These volunteers work all day, transport their kids all over town and then also show up here and spend 2 and a half hours with other volunteers and church kids. Wow.

Faithfulness

Gentleness - Not me. When I think of this word I think of grace, I think of a peaceful presence, I think of someone who just naturally has a way about them. I am none of those things.

Self-control

VBS 2006

It is finished.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Post B4 Outage

So I am trying to post daily - at least through the week - but this week is VBS from 6 until 8:30 pm every night. I do opening and closing, by choice. It is fun, but of course it is also tiring.

So... my apologies and my hopes that this explanatory post is put up before the blogger outage.

Peace Friends.
1. Grab the book nearest you, turn to page 18. What does line 4 read?

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What can you touch?

3. What's the last thing you watched on TV?

4. Without looking, what time is it?

5. What time is it actually?

6. Except for the computer what can you hear?

7. When did you last step outside and what were you doing?

8. Before you started this survey what were you doing? Checking e-mail.

9. What are you wearing?

10. Did you dream last night?

11. When did you last laugh?

12. What's on the walls in the room you're in?

13. Seen anything weird?

14. What do you think of this quiz?

15. Last film or video seen? “Monster House” at the theatre (very cute, indeed!)

16. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight what's the first thing you'd do?

17. Tell me something I don't know about you?

18. If you could change one thing about the world regardless of politics what would it be?

20. Do you like to dance?

21. What comment would you like to make to George Bush?

22. Your first child is a girl what do you name her?

23. Your first child is a boy what do you name him?

24. Would you ever consider living abroad?

25. What do you want God to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?

Heavy Revvies

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Books

I've been tagged. And in turn I tagged The Boy, age 18 months:

1. One Book That Changed Your Life -- I am not sure, but Mom always says to warm the crowd up with a joke... maybe this would be funnier.

2. One Book That You've Read More Than Once -- All. of. Them.

3. One Book You'd Want on a Desert Island -- Farmer Will, because then I wouldn't need a mirror to know what I looked like.

4. One Book That Made You Laugh -- Animals picture book, especially when my Mommy makes the elephant sounds (which she won't do for some reason when she has a headache).

5. One Book That Made You Cry -- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, my Mommy made the bear voice a little too scary one time.

6. One Book You Wish You Had Written -- Goodnight Moon. Doesn't everyone wish they had written this? "Goodnight nobody... goodnight air" - I mean really, how hard was that to write?

7. One Book That You Wish Had Never Been Written -- I'm guessing someday it will be this one.

8. Books You're Currently Reading -- The Very Hungry Catepillar, Hug, Moo, Baa, La, La, La!

9. One Book You've Been Meaning to Read -- Ah, Tolstoy.

A New Season

And all the parents said, AMEN!

August 14th cannot get here soon enough. No word yet on whether or not we will get some fresh Elmo's Worlds.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Sermon Excerpt - The Big Three

Some from the 11th hour preacher party emailed and asked for excerpts from a sermon that included Christian Education, Evangelism and Stewardship. Here it is with a few edits...

As it often is with growth, we might experience some growing pains. Currently I am 5’10” and I remember when I grew six of those inches in a year. Some of you taller folks may remember similar experiences in that you spend a good part of your youth having no idea where exactly your feet are going to land at any time.

I spent years tripping up the stairs, running into immovable objects and my all time humiliation favorite - tripping over nothing. This usually happened to me on the way to or from school while walking with friends. It got to the point where my friends would not even stop, they would just keep on talking and walking while I picked myself up, grabbed my back-pack from wherever it had flung and caught up with them again.

No, growth does not always go smoothly but without growth, there is no life. Too many Christians have stunted growth.

I am going to share three areas where I believe we as a faith, as a denomination and yes even as a local church need to grow.

The first, is education and by that I mean Christian education. Oh there are plenty of excuses - Sunday is our morning to sleep in, we don’t like what’s being offered, our parents never came to Sunday School…

Ephesians 4:14 - We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine… How can we know what is truth? How can we stand firm in our faith when we don’t know what it is we really believe? How can we not be tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine when we don’t know why we believe it in the first place?

The Reverend Very Respected - whom many of you know - has a great line when someone is trying to throw their version of the Bible down her throat. She says, “Umm, that’s not what my Bible says.” How many of us can be that confident in what the Bible does and doesn’t say?

This year, beginning September 10th, our Christian Education program is offering the opportunity of a lifetime. It is called Year of the Bible and that is exactly what it is. One year, one Bible - we read it together cover to cover.

There will be at least two Bible study opportunities per week revolving around this undertaking. That means the same class offered at least two times - one on Sunday mornings and at least one more at another time during the week depending on what works for everyone. Year of the Bible is a comprehensive program filled with incentives, ways to keep up enthusiasm and accountability. Take home resources, the sermons and bulletin and newsletter articles will all coordinate throughout the year with the program.

Year of the Bible is just one way to leave behind childish ways and act our age - Christian Education.

The second area where I believe we as a faith, as a denomination and yes, even as a local church need to grow is evangelism. That’s right, faithful Presbyterians, I said the word. It’s out there now, we might as well talk about it. Oh, there are plenty of excuses - we don’t want to offend anyone, we don’t want to look foolish, our parents never invited anyone to church…

Ephesians 15: 15But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ… What is there to be afraid of if we are speaking the truth in love? What is so intrusive about a simple invitation? We live in a free society, I am pretty sure we would not be here if we did not want to be so why not invite someone to join us? If we are uncomfortable with starting out at the worship level then what about inviting them to Church Event or offer to bring their kids to VBS - it starts tonight at 6pm and goes until 8:30.

It is time to act our age. New houses are going up all over the place. What if we took one of our welcome bags - I brought some over, you can grab them from the back - took an extra bulletin and newsletter, threw in a baked good (store bought or not) and dropped it off? No intrusion. No beating anyone over the head with a Bible (which is good since the study Bible we will be using for The Year of the Bible class is quite heavy), just a friendly, neighborly welcome.

Reaching out to our neighbors, finding a way to share the Good News with the people just next door - is just one way to leave our childish ways and act our age - evangelism.

The third area where I believe we as a faith, as a denomination and yes, even as a local church need to grow is stewardship. Oh my goodness, evangelism and stewardship in the same sermon - Lord have mercy! Oh, there are plenty of excuses - it’s too much math to figure out a tithe, the church doesn’t spend it exactly the way we would, our parents never gave that much to the church…

Ephesians 16: Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. There is no better way to promote the body’s growth than by taking joy in it. Look at the programs and the leadership and the campus and the busting-at-the-seams nursery and the beacon of light in this community that WSC gets to be BUT that does not all happen just by chance.

Those who came before us had the vision to put a church here; they built a Sanctuary and a manse. They converted a schoolhouse into a Parish Hall. Some of you here today took the leap of faith and built a Christian Education building.

We are generous to our neighbors in Christ and neighbors in need, we SHARE, we provide food to the community, we support one another through fellowship events and through prayer. These things take talent. These things take time. And I am on a roll so I am going to say it, these things take money.

It is time to act our age. Are we giving the same amount we have been giving for the last ten years? Has our income raised but your pledge stayed the same? Leaving behind our childish ways means promoting the body’s growth in building itself up in love. Part of building the body in love is responding to that love by joyfully giving our gifts - Stewardship.

The letter to the Ephesians challenges those involved in ministry in the post-Jesus era to grow up. We are to grow in our faith. Three places where there is room to grow are Christian Education, Evangelism and Stewardship.

Gotta tell you, I am feeling a little bit grumpy about these challenges. Actually Grumpy might be the wrong children’s character. I am feeling a bit more like Peter Pan - I don’t want to grow up. All of those excuses I mentioned earlier - those are MY excuses. If I attempt to grow in these things I could lose my footing and crash at any moment.

I could trip up and not finish the Bible in a year.
I could fall on my face and have my invitation to church rejected.
I could misstep and need the money I have pledged to the church.

True, all true. When we step out in faith in order to grow we take risks. It would be so much easier not to do it at all. But when we do not grow, we do not live.

Are we ready to act our age? Are we ready to grow?

In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Broadway Edition

Alright, this is not my strongest category, but I want to keep my Friday Five streak alive and NotShyChiRev is one of my favorites so here we go... embarrassing admissions of moments out of my comfort zone included.

This week we have a treat: a guest Friday Five composed by NotShyChiRev. Enjoy!
1. Describe the last play or musical you saw. (At least provide the what, when, where, and why). What was your opinion of it?

Well, we'll start the embarrassment right off the bat as culture is unfortunately not a priority in our lives right now. I saw Grease at the local high school but the last professionally performed show I saw was Miss Saigon. I saw it on Broadway so yes, it was amazing even though by the time I saw it everyone knew an actual helicopter was going to come down onto the stage.

To celebrate our 10th anniversary TDH and I are going into the BIG city overnight with hopes of seeing The Daily Show and a Broadway show. I would like to see Spamalot but child of the 70's he is I think he would enjoy Mamma Mia! better... and I still owe him for dragging us both to see a very disappointing Cats. Ugh... sorry rev abi, but don't even get me started.


2. All time favorite play? Musical?

No play that I can think of; Fiddler on the Roof for sentimental reasons (although searching for this link I found out it is currently on Broadway with Harvey Fierstein and Rosie O'Donnell - that casting just might cure me of my sentimentality. With all due respect to Mr. Fierstein I think I will stick with my soundtrack with Topol as Tevya).


3. “The Producers,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Hairspray,” “The Wedding Singer”…all were movies before they were musicals. What non-musical movie do you think should next get the musical treatment?

Love Actually or Notting Hill (Geez, I am just laying ALL my girly stuff out there today.)

4. Favorite song from a musical? Why?

Sunrise, Sunset and for personal reasons the majority of the songs from Annie although not Tomorrow for those same personal reasons.

Bonus question for singer/actors. Favorite part you’ve ever played/sung.

Alright, here it goes... my senior year of college the theater department was putting on The Pirates of Penzance. I LOVE this musical. As a kid I listened to it using a xylophone mallet as my sword (but wait, there's more humiliation to come).

I decided to try out, but really what are the parts in Pirates of Penzance? It is either pirates or maidens... and from what you know of me just from this blog, do you REALLY think I wanted to be a maiden? Sure there is Ruth, and I bravely tried out for Ruth too, but this singing on stage thing is more my sister's gig so I was terrified. Did you know you have to try out in front of other people... theater people... who get dead quiet - and stare - when someone they don't know walks out onto the stage?

Long story short... I came back to read the casting list and my name was not on it. Fair enough, I was a softball player not an actor. I was still pretty proud of myself for trying out. But when I returned to the dorm there was a message for me from the director. Someone had dropped out so that very night I had my first rehearsal... as a Pirate of Penzance.

WTF?

Oh. My. God.

I think that's a joke, right... tell me that's a joke.

MS Ride Final Wrap-Up

As you may recall, I promised one of my husband's famous wrap-ups to those of you who donated and prayed for us a couple of Saturdays ago when we rode in the National MS Society Bike-a-Thon. Here it is (with some obvious edits...)

Will Smama rode 55 miles that day on what was supposed to be a 50 mile ride. Her comments: "They should always err on the side of giving you too few miles rather than adding extra miles!" She was on the bike 4 hours and 45 minutes plus stops. This was quite amazing considering her longest training ride was two hours and 15 minutes. We rode together for the first 10 miles or so, and she was trying to "find her legs." I didn't know if she was going to make it. The course was hilly, and we just hadn't trained as much as last year. Somehow she "found her legs", got a "second wind" and struggled through - quite the accomplishment. Hurrah for will smama.

I rode the 75-mile loop that day - on the bike about 5 hours and 40 minutes, plus stops. I decided against the extra 25 mile loop that would bring me to the 100 mile "century ride" in one day. Part of this decision was made for me - supposedly I wasn't going to get on the 25 mile course before the time limit, but I did see others entering the 25-mile loop after the time limit. The ride was always humid but relatively cool for the first 3 hours or so. Eventually the sun came out, and then things heated up. It was a very scenic and hilly course. My most aching body part was my upper back by my neck - very annoying - especially when the sun started hitting it - made the ride un-fun after 45 miles or so.

Want to hear more excuses? Sure, why not...I had the mission trip the next day and still had packing, preparations, etc. to do. We gathered at 8 am Sunday to pack and leave. If I had attempted the last 25 miles, I would have definitely been the last one on the course - holding up volunteers at the rest stops - "Hey is that chubby rider coming along yet?" I would guess that if I had ridden the 100 miles, I would have been the rider doing it with the least amount of training. I also didn't hold up my family either by leaving after 75 miles. Can I blame it on The Boy? - Ha ha. It was his nap time - coming up on 2pm. Alright - enough excuses. I'll try it again - hopefully with a little less weight and a few more training miles.

Thanks for your encouraging words and for your support. Together we raised
$1078.

On behalf of our friend, and all those with MS, thanks and God bless you.

TDH and Will Smama

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Well Said

Yesterday I had a post bubbling in my head with the theme 'but it could be worse'...

Something like, "I am so hot today with the humidity, etc., etc., but it could be worse..."

Then I looked at Songbird's "Forgive us our Frustrations" and found out someone had said it better.

Thank you, Songbird.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Parishioner Profile

It is hot. Very hot. I know, it is hot where you are too. Most likely very hot.

Yesterday I called all of the members who do not have a/c to check up on them. Most of them have it now except for one family. I stopped by there today and one of the three was home. I posted in my head while we sat and basted in her living room.

NAME: Brenda Brush (okay, not her real name)

FAMILY IN HOME: Brother and sister-in-law who live on the other side of the house. Picture an old farm house turned duplex without the big wall in between. The only way you can tell whose side of the house you are on is because Brenda keeps her side sparse and spotless whereas the other side is filled with flea market junk and clutter.

LIVING ROOM FEATURES: 2 romance novels (not the kind with the word 'turgid' in them or anything but one had the title Savage Heart and had the obligatory Indian with the heaving chest, open shirt and woman trailing behind him).

Not one. speck. of. dust.

One fan - not even in a window - circa 1920. In a show of true Christianity she insisted I be the one who sat in front of it... err, across the room on the couch but technically in front of it.

Plastic on couch... oh yeah, that hurt. TDH thinks the skin I left behind from the back of my legs will grow back in no time.

KITCHEN FEATURES: Boiling hot water to put corn in raising heat index to 150 degrees (only 40 degrees higher than it already was)

MY FAVORITE BRENDA BRUSH QUOTES:
"You know I just can't stand sitting around, I have to keep myself busy except when General Hospital is on. I can't miss General Hospital."

"I have a new neighbor who looks a lot like you... tall and stocky.... I mean beefy... no, that's not right. Someone who looks like you can't knock her down easily. She has twelve kids you know."

BB: It seems like we just moved in here.
WS: When did you move here?
BB: (laughing) Oh about 40 years ago... 1936.
WS: Ummm, Brenda... it's 2006. That's 70 years ago.
BB: Well I'll be.

AGE: 88

VISIT GRADE: 'A'wesome

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Yeah, That's the Stuff

Because of posts lately like this and this I paid extra attention during Sesame Street last night.

Not to the show, but to the little boy curled on my lap. I closed my eyes and attempted to memorize the sweet smell of his hair, the dusting of sand still on his face from his earlier playdate with the sandbox, the way he gently sucks his thumb only pulling it out to laugh like Ernie, clap, or look at me and point and say something that in his language must mean, "Did you see that?"

Awesome.