Friday, March 30, 2007

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Holy Week, Batman!

This week's is from reverend mother who writes:
Well, the Clergy Superbowl is almost upon us, and so, I offer up this Friday Five (with apologies for the irreverent title):

1. Will this Sunday be Palms only, Passion only, or hyphenated?
Hyphenated for reasons both theological - I want them to hear the story and attendance at the mid-week services are significantly less - and practical - If I read a lot of Scripture then my sermon can be a meditation.

2. Maundy Thursday Footwashing: Discuss.
I WANT to be okay with this. I get ALL (most) of the symbolism, theology, worshipful significance. BUT as if being Protestant and mainline isn't enough, I am from the northeast. We don't touch there. My baby pictures show my parents shaking my hand.

3. Share a particularly meaningful Good Friday worship experience.
Spring Break, sophomore year in college, I am in the dorms alone because the softball team was allowed to stay in the dorms but I am injured and not allowed to go on their overnight road trip. Faith crisis happening and so I decide to serve myself Communion using a Snicker bar and diet coke. I wouldn't fight anyone to have them accept its significance or its allowability, but it meant a lot to me.

4. Easter Sunrise Services--choose one:
a) "Resurrection tradition par excellence!"
b) "Eh. As long as it's sunrise with coffee, I can live with it."
c) "[Yawn] Can't Jesus stay in the tomb just five more minutes, Mom?!?"

Well, growing up our youth group led this service on a public beach at the Jersey shore with a couple of acoustic guitars and handouts. We stuck a huge cross into the ground and worshiped while the sun rose up above the ocean and cast a shadow of the cross over the sand and the worshipers. It was definitely an (a).

Here it is a mandatory event that my first year took place overlooking a recently spread cornfield (hard to fully embrace the miracle of the empty tomb over the view and reek of glistening cow manure). My second year took place in front of a building that actually blocked the sunrise. At least now it takes place in our cemetery. Still, it's a (c).

Maybe... MAYBE... if I didn't have to run it to keep it from being either one of the above scenarios or worse then it would make its way to (b).

5. Complete this sentence: It just isn't Easter without...
Worship with trumpets! I am from Big Church, serving in Middle/Small church. I get that and usually I am okay with it. But during Easter 2004 when I SHOULD have been on maternity leave but was not, I looked at our organist and flat out told him if I have to be here on Easter Sunday then we need trumpets. I will never forget the look on the congregation's faces as they realized they were hearing more than just the organ and piano pound out Jesus Christ is Risen Today!

Bonus: Any Easter Vigil aficionados out there? Please share.
When I worked at a Big Church this was one of the pastor's big ideas but who got to 'work' the early morning shift? Why the Youth Director of course! I feel like it is something that really deserves being done right - no shortcuts like running it until midnight and then picking it back up at 6 - and so I think I liked Cheesehead's answer when she said: "Love attending it. Can't imagine throwing the party."





Bunny thanks to artie.com

It is Finished

She just walked out the door... forever.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

???

Is anyone else getting just a TON of sales calls from church supply related companies this week? I finally just asked the guy on the phone (asking for our Music Minister - HA!) if he realized what time of the liturgical year it was? "Holy Week is NOT a good time."

WTF?

Good News - Bad News

Well, the bad news is that I wrote a cute (imho) post using good news/bad news and blogger ate it because of one misplaced parenthesis in the code. Seems like an over-reaction to me, but whatever. The good news is that I will take the time to post three more fun magnets:


















Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Comeuppance

I just got my ass kicked in a Muscles in Motion class.

In other news, the 104 year old 'new' administrative assistant has told me that Friday will be her last day. I tease, but I respect her. She tried really hard, but it was all just too much (I had to spend time explaining the difference between 'delete' 'backspace' and 'space bar').

We have had three admins in a year (4 if you include an interim).
The first resigned the Friday before Holy Week 2006.
The second left for a full time postion on December 1 - right before Advent.
And now this one leaves the Friday before Holy Week 2007.

I know there is a punch line in there somewhere but right now my head is spinning so fast with the church 'to do' list that I cannot think of it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Better Than a Weigh-In

I am enjoying a serendipitous evening at home since a parishioner's heart surgery was postponed until tomorrow. TDH is helping his parents move and The Boy and I are just quietly playing. He has left me for his trucks which I always take to mean that he has reached the Mommy saturation point, a good thing, since often our evening time consists of him wanting to be attached to me since I have been gone all day and me trying to balance being there for him and things that I have to do.

We played outside - the sandbox held up well through the winter - and have eaten dinner together. Very nice.

Earlier today The Boy and I were at the YMCA where I have a weekly racquetball game with a member of the congregation. I joined with my Mom in mid-January and the racquetball game has become part of my weekly routine. I do other stuff too with the goals I shared with the trainer being:
1) I want to be able to help my son when he moves into college. He's two.
2) I want to look good for a family event in September.

Now I have tried not to get scale-obsessed, I just have improved some eating habits (hence the soy milk probe) and exercise a bit more. My goals are never weight oriented, but are rather stuff like "get to the gymn 4x this week" or "sign up for spinning".

Today after my first racquetball game I played another with someone who is a lot better than me BUT - and I am so excited to be typing this - I am in better shape than she is so I was able to hang with her in the first two games and beat her in the third.

As I used to be a competitive athlete, this was the best affirmation that I could have that what I have been doing is not all for naught.

And now I must check to see why it has gotten so quiet...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday Haze

PHEW! I'm tuckered.

I packed a bit too much into this Sunday, but all is well that ends well.

Going. to. bed.

(aren't you glad I shared?)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: River in the Desert Edition


I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19, NRSV


As we near the end of the long journey toward Easter, a busy time for pastors and layfolk alike, I ponder the words of Isaiah and the relief and refreshment of a river in the desert.For this Friday Five, name five practices, activities, people or _____ (feel free to fill in something I may be forgetting) that for you are rivers in the desert.


EXCELLENT timing on this one as I am actually doing this to give my mushy brain a break so I guess #1 would be...


1) Checking in on blog friends... maybe even posting.


2) Wrestling and chasing my two year old son around the house, sneaking in hugs and kissies as much as I can.


3) Da Beach... so near (3 hours) and yet so far.


4) Gathering with friends - I am an extrovert so a non-church related outing with others can really do me good.


5) Snuggles with TDH.


Thanks, I needed that.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bonus Post: Guess Who?

I picked up the church phone and after my brief introductory spiel I hear:

"They stopped by your house and said you wasn't there so I told them it would have to be after Easter."

I kid you not.

Anyone want to attempt to decipher before I reveal the boring, real answer?

Got Milk.... ish?


Alright, all you granolies out there....

Tell me again why I am putting soy milk on my cereal when it has more fat and less calcium than Skim milk?

Monday, March 19, 2007

WWJB(urn)?


It's official. I have blown Random Thought Woman's Mind.

Setting: Sunday morning (of course) I have walked through the doors and as always she is the first one I see.

ws: Good morning, Random Thought Woman
rtw: Mornin. Do you have that song?
ws: Okay... I'm going to need more than that.
rtw: I'm going to do that thing, you know that we do, and I need a song.
ws: (pause as my brain flips through the 'Random Thought Woman's potential topics file' in my brain. I come up with nothing but my silence has encouraged her to fill in at least one blank).
rtw: You know, during worship, some of us leave and go to what's that place - Blue Valley!

She has just named our local nursing home where two months out of the year our congregation supplies folks to lead their Sunday School. She must be taking the kids over there next week. At least now we are both on the same event.

ws: Okay, I know what you're talking about now, I assume you need someone to play the piano or the guitar when you go next week.
rtw: No, I just need a record with Trust and Obey on it. We are going to talk about how you need to trust and obey the Lord. (I wish I could type the way she says, "Lord" but I can't. the best I can do is tell you it has two to three syllables with no southern accent.)
ws: Do they have a record player?
rtw: Oh... you know what I mean, a tape thingy.... cassette!!! Do you have a cassette of you singing Trust and Obey? (at least she didn't say 8-track)
ws: Oh, well... you must have me confused with the recording artist, The Amazing Will Smama. No, I don't have a recording of me singing anything, let alone Trust and Obey. What about this... do you have a cd player?
rtw: Is that the thing that spins those little tiny records?
ws: (respectfully chuckling)... yes, can you bring one of those?
rtw: I'll bring the Sunday School one.
ws: Okay, I'll bring you a cd next week with that on it.
rtw: I don't want you to buy a cd.
ws: I don't have to buy a cd.
rtw: I don't want the church buying it either.
ws: (ignoring what she is implying - the old school folks here have issues with my professional expense account - which by the way I spent NONE of last year because of our budget concerns, but I digress...) The church is not buying it either. I'll make it for you.
rtw: ------
ws: Okay? (I should have just left it at that, but I had never seen her without words before)
rtw: No lie-ing... don't buy it. You're just messin'.
ws: Random Thought Woman, I promise I am not messing with you. I can use the computer, find the song on the internet and bring it into you next week. Don't worry about it anymore.
rtw: (shaking her head in absolute total disbelief) Okay, you bring that to me next week.

I just burned it with the first one being Trust and Obey of course and loaded it with a lot of other hymns I know she loves but we rarely sing. I fought every fiber of my being to not put SexyBack on there.

Now... does she trust me enough to expect me to have it on Sunday... or does she show up on Sunday with it on cassette?

Friday, March 16, 2007

NOT a Snow Day

The Boy plays a game where if I point out a circle he will say it is a circle. If I point out any other shape (usually triangle or square) he says, "NOT a circle" and giggles hysterically so although there is now currently almost 4" of snow on the ground and it is still coming down, today is decidedly NOT a snow day for two reasons.

First, can one really consider it a snow day when rather than calling you before she left town as you told her to, your 104 year old admin shows up in the driveway of the church forcing you to get off the couch and hurriedly throw your clothes over your pajamas and leave your coffee behind because she drove 7 miles over hill and dale... and you just have to walk across the parking lot.


And two, THIS is what happens when one child is inside for one whole day.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Because I didn't have all of your emails...

Along with 'You Know You Are From the Jersey Shore If..' the below is one of my favorite email forwards. As shocking as it may be to some of my parishioners I have actually seen the email about the cute things kids say about the Bible... no really. I have it.

But this one cracks me up. For some reason #'s 7 and 11 particularly tickle me today. Which # is your favorite?

20 Ways To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity

1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.

2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.

3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, ask If They Want Fries with that.

4. Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label it "In".

5. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.

6. In The Memo Field Of All Your Cheques, Write " For Smuggling Diamonds".

7. Finish All Your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy".

8. Don't use any punctuation.

9. As Often As Possible, Skip Rather Than Walk.

10. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

11. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is "To Go".

12. Sing Along At The Opera.

13. Go To A Poetry Recital. And Ask Why The Poems Don't Rhyme?

14. Put Mosquito Netting Around Your Work Area and Play Tropical Sounds All Day.

15. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You're Not In the Mood.

16. Have Your Co-workers Address You By Your Wrestling Name, Rock Bottom.

17. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream "I Won! I Won!"

18. When Leaving The Zoo, Start Running Towards The Parking lot, Yelling "Run For Your Lives! They're Loose!"

19. Tell Your Children Over Dinner, "Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go."

20. Take a chain email and post it on your blog as if it were somehow original material.


I am tempted to do one of these.... which one should it be? Besides #20 which of course I just did.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Word of the Lord

Thanks to the Year of the Bible program I am doing with my church I now have a new favorite Bible verse:

Furthermore, I decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of the house of the perpetrator, who then shall be impaled on it. The house shall be made a dunghill.
- Ezra 6:11 -

Where is the VBS based on THAT!?

And why can' t I find any clip art for that verse?

Movie Recommendation

If you haven't seen this movie because it is a Will Ferrell movie, rent it anyway.

It's good.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Revgalblogpal Friday(ummm, Sunday?) Five: Matters of Taste Edition

Posted by Songbird: My mother loved figs. I only like them in a Newton.It's all a matter of taste. Name five things you like a lot that some close relative or significant other did/does not like. This could be food, movies, hobbies, music, sports or whatever springs to mind.

1) Racquetball - TDH has no interest in this sport what-so-ever. I find it a good way to exercise, get the cardio in and yet not constantly have my mind on the pain my knees are in because I am too focused on making the next shot. He sees it as a good way to get smacked on the back of the head with a ball. Playing against me, he has a point.

2) Alcohol - I drink it, he does not. There are too many women in the world wishing their partners didn't drink to complain about this but I will say sometimes it would be nice to share a glass of wine over dinner or be in a relationship with someone who is not totally repulsed by the smell of beer or wine on one's breath.

3) S**t TV - He is after all, a guy, so those Saturday TBS marathons of chick flicks that I could have on mindlessly throughout the day? Well, he is just not that interested.

4) Going Places - It is not that I have dreams of being the big world traveler, I'm just talking about the need/desire to get out of the house every once in awhile. TDH could never leave the house again and be perfectly content and happy.

One the opposite way:
5) Coconut - I believe my 2 year old sums it up the best when he says: iw.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Smoke and Mirrors

Last week I simply ran out of time.

I never wanted to be the Saturday afternoon (evening) sermon writing pastor. I find it very stressful to be sitting down late Saturday and realize there are hours of work ahead due by the following morning. It is true that I work more focused with that bit of adrenaline behind me, but it is also true that like any drug you have to keep pushing to get that same adrenaline kick. For instance, it used to be that the adrenaline hit at noon on Saturday, then 3, then it would have to be after dinner time before I would really start to panic.

In the last few months I was getting increasingly frustrated with landing on Saturday and finding my sermons needing to be done from scratch. TDH encouraged me to carve out some time for sermon writing. Well, duh... but he was right in that as simple as it sounds I wasn't doing it.

As a solo pastor - and I guess as any pastor - there is always something that needs to be done, some fire that needs to be put out. The challenge is to as early as Wednesday - let it burn. Start the sermon. It is a great idea that I have managed to pull off exactly once - the first weekend of February when I knew I had family coming into town and a birthday party to throw for The Boy and I really didn't want the sermon hanging over my head.

Last week I was at the hospital all day Tuesday, worked on my sermon a bit on Wednesday morning, trained a new Administrative Assistant on Thursday, continued the training and ran the bulletin on Friday, did a wedding and had my computers taken away on Saturday and found myself for the first time ever sitting in worship on Sunday morning with no second half of my sermon written. I hadn't even really outlined it.

So mirroring what I did earlier in the service during a baptism I walked into the congregation and spoke about the sermon topic off of the top of my head, managing to keep my eye on the clock and give an ending that sounded like a reasonable semblance of a point.

In the comments at the Saturday preacher party I described my plan like this: My plan is to literally walk amongst them and make up a sermon ending and hope that as Presbyterians the fear they will feel that I might touch them or ask them a question during the sermon will keep them from asking themselves, "Is she saying anything?

The thing is it worked. The feedback I received was that it was a great sermon, but I know it wasn't. I know it was nothing more than smoke and mirrors. But if I am rewarded for such behavior how do I hold myself accountable to doing more? How do I get out of this Saturday evening/Sunday morning (yikes!) rut? How do I get everything done including the research and effort needed for a weekly paper and presentation?

No answers yet and my head is pounding and so for now I will stick with the rest of my comment from last Saturday night... Personal prayers, reflection apologies with God and a Holy Nap.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Perfect Storm

Poor, little rich girl edition:


New computers

+


Vista


+


Microsoft Office Word 2007


+


Cranky wireless network


+


Very new (yet quite old) Administrative Assistant


=


THE PERFECT STORM



If only I had George Clooney to hold onto.




Monday, March 5, 2007

Don't Worry, I'm Used to It

And now back to the antics of Random Thought Woman.

On Sunday morning I was where the kids gather before they go to Sunday School class. My mother usually has this honor, but she was away this past weekend (something about having another daughter) so I was The Boy's chaperone. Random Thought Woman came into the room and made a comment that the chairs weren't set up yet. I moved to the stack of chairs that had been left by the Head Start program that uses our facilities through the week. RTW told me we weren't allowed to use those chairs.

Now, I was in on this arrangement with Head Start from the beginning and part of the deal is that we get to use their stuff on Sundays. So with a smile I told her that we were allowed to use them. She frowned shook her head 'no' and redirected folks to get chairs that were further down the hall.

I dropped it.

However, I couldn't resist when a guy walked in who had also been in on that decision and I said, please tell RTW that we can use the Head Start chairs. He of course responded in the affirmative and she said, "Oh we can - okay then, go get them."

I was suprised that it didn't bother me, really I found it funny, because it wasn't that he is male and I am female.. it is because he is from "around here" and no matter how long we stay, I will never be.

And finally I am okay with that.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

For My Sabbatical-ing St. Casserole

With special thanks to Shakespeare's Sister

Ethics: Walmart Edition

So, of course the below example was me and of course I told the cashier what had happened and of course the devil on my shoulder said, "Idiot," and told me that I should never have been a pastor because it makes me impossible to live with during all of my holier-than-thou moments.

The most frustrating thing about it was that TDH went there later and was overcharged for an item that cannot be proven so we are stuck with that extra cost (about $5).

As for going to Walmart, well I too call it 'evil' and yet I go. Why?
Because with a sick child at home I can get in and out quicker than the chain pharmacies.
Because in this case they were the only ones that had what we needed.
Because when I do have my child with me it is easier to take him in and out of the car only once and get everything I need in one place.
Because I live in Pennsyl-bama and there is no other place to go for certain needs/wants.
Because a friend of mine has Down's Syndrome and the ONLY place that didn't treat her like crap and was willing to give her a legitamate chance at employment was Walmart.

There is no need to get into a debate about it, I am sure other websites cover the pros and cons of the evil empire. I just wanted to remind us all that there are never easy, clear cut answers.