Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in Review

First lines from first posts of each month this year--idea shamelessly copied from many others!

January 17, 2008 ~I am not a very regular poster to this blog.

February 4, 2008 ~ It has been a rotten few days--two funerals (one for 85 year old man, one for 17 month old girl) plus their visitations, one high school lock in, one "beat cabin fever" party at church, normal weekend stuff, bad cold, and overdrawing our checking account.

March 7, 2008 ~ (This was a RevGal Friday Five) What have you seen/ heard this week that was a : 1. Sign of hope? Volunteers stepping forward for some exciting programs

April 4, 2008 ~ (another Friday Five) How has God revealed him/herself to you in a: 1. Book: I love books.

May 1, 2008 ~ Today is the day of some pretty significant anniversaries for me.

June 7, 2008 ~ Anyone who's read this blog at all over the past few months knows that I've managed to make every post about my baby due at the end of June.

July 18, 2008 ~ (yet another Friday Five) 1. So how did you come up with your blogging name? And/or the name of your blog? I wrote my first blog post over and over in my head and then had a friend read it before I decided to actually start to blog.

August 5, 2008 ~ A few posts ago I listed the blog posts I had written in my head and this was one of the titles. (On Being a Mother and Being a Daughter)

September 12, 2008 ~ This is a meme that Ruth started to create A Never-Ending Story.

October 10, 2008 ~ (gee…if it weren’t for Friday Fives, would I ever post?) 1. Does your job ever call for travel? Is this a joy or a burden? Not really.

November 3, 2008 ~ My dad died when I was not quite 10, just 2 months before my 10th birthday.

December 3, 2008 ~ Today is a Wednesday, the day I work at home so that Baby Girl only goes to a babysitter 3 days a week.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Five: Windows to the Soul

1. What color are your beautiful eyes? Did you inherit them from or pass them on to anyone in your family?
My driver's license says hazel. I guess they are pretty green, but sometimes look more blue. I was hoping to pass them on to Baby Girl, but my hubby's brown seem to be winning out. (Along with the rest of his looks...she looks SO much like him.)

2. What color eyes would you choose if you could change them?
I like my eye color. But I would also love my grandpa's really really blue eyes.

3. Do you wear glasses or contacts? What kind? Like 'em or hate 'em?
I currently wear glasses but have worn contacts. I like and hate things about both. I need to go to the eye doctor soon and am contemplating what I will do.

4. Ever had, or contemplated, laser surgery? Happy with the results?
I've contemplated it, but my eyes really aren't that bad. If absolutely necessary, I can get by without my glasses, particularly if I don't leave the house. (Since my prescription is for distance, I hate to drive without my glasses.)

5. Do you like to look people in the eye, or are you more eye-shy?
I'm more eye-shy. Just shy in general.

Bonus question: Share a poem, song, or prayer that relates to eyes and seeing.
I remember part of song for a Bible camp musical I was in. The line is..."now we can touch the hand of God, now we can see God's eyes...the human and the holy in one love." I can't remember the rest...I need to find the video!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wishes and Dreams

Today is a Wednesday, the day I work at home so that Baby Girl only goes to a babysitter 3 days a week. She is now sleeping and so I should be actually working instead of blogging, but...well, as you can see, that's not happening.

Right now it is snowing, with 3-5 inches predicted between now (noon) and 5 p.m. Many schools around here are closing early. If our district closes early, we will not have confirmation tonight. I'm actually really wishing that will happen! I have no desire to have class tonight. I'm also checking a blog regularly--live labor blogging of a friend. I wish I had thought of that 6 months ago; it would have made the boring parts of the day more fun. (Did I just write that my labor was boring? I can't believe I think of it that way--it was exciting, but the first 4 hours between when my water broke and when they started pitocin was pretty boring.)

Anyway, the snow falling and thinking about new birth has me thinking of dreams and I'm making a list.
  • that my sweet baby girl will always be as happy as she is today and as excited to see me
  • that I could curl up under a blanket and read a good book
  • that my house was organized the way I wish (currently a number of closet contents are strewn in unusual places)
  • that I didn't have to work full time at this time of my life
  • that I had friends in real life that I saw more than once a year or so
  • that my husband and I had some time to just be together without worries and responsibilities and things we should be doing

Wow...I thought I'd be more profound when I titled the post. Oh well. It is what it is. Now back to work.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sick Day

Do you know the worst time to get sick when you are a pastor? Midway through worship.

Today I am thankful for a few things in particular related to this.
1. working with another pastor (who was preaching this week) to whom I said after communion, "Can you take over? I feel like I'm going to pass out." (It was pass out or puke, but decided I'd shorten it up)
2. being able to leave after the first service instead of staying for the second when I felt so awful
3. being able to make it to my car before puking and having an empty drink cup from a fast food restaurant in my car to hurl into
4. getting home safely despite my teeth chattering so hard that I could barely see the road
5. a husband who took care of Baby Girl while I slept most of the day, only bringing her to me when she needed to nurse and also going out to get Kentucky Fried Chicken's mashed potatoes because those were the only things that sounded good
6. feeling better today

This was the third time in a month or so that I've had what felt like a 24-hour flu bug--nausea, chills/fever, achy body, etc. So I did give in and go to the doctor today--even though I was feeling much better. They drew blood and have called to say that my white count is high so it seems to be bacterial and are prescribing antibiotics. My husband is picking them up now. If it had been viral, I'd just have had to get through it. The last time I was on antibotics, they were almost worse than the illness, so I'm hoping that's not the case with these. We'll see I guess.

Monday, November 03, 2008

My Daddy and My Baby Girl

My dad died when I was not quite 10, just 2 months before my 10th birthday. That was 21 years ago. It's been a long time. I've been through all the stages of grief more times than I can count. It seems that this year I miss my dad more than I have in a long time--and it's related to my baby girl. Baby Girl was due about a week after the anniversary of my dad's death. I kind of thought she would be born on that date, but she surprised us by coming a full month early. She takes after me and my dad by having sensitive skin. We realized very early that instead of helping diaper rash, Desitin made it worse. So, we decided to try A&D ointment. My dad had been a mail carrier and so the winter was particularly rough on his skin and he used A&D cream to help. As I was particularly hormonal shortly after Baby Girl's birth and used this ointment, I would hold her close and smell her and think, "Daddy." I would have never have thought I missed the smell of my dad until then. And there's something else too...something that is so hard for me to articulate and seems like bad theology, but it feels so real. When I snuggle with my Baby Girl, when she 'kisses' me (or slobbers on me as the case may be), when she 'hugs' me (or I hug her and she doesn't resist), I feel like my dad knows her--that he sent hugs and kisses from him for me from heaven. I believe Baby Girl is a gift from God, that God knit her together, that God knows her and loves her. I believe that God knows my dad and loves him and I believed that before Baby Girl. But I miss my dad so much and so maybe it's wishful thinking, but I feel like my dad knows Baby Girl and through her has sent me a message of love. Is that crazy?

Monday, October 27, 2008


I'm about a week later than I thought I would be to post this, but...such is life. Anyway, I had an odd experience last week. I attended my synod's fall theological conference, something I generally do every year--not only because it's expected, but I generally like conferences. This year, I met someone whose blog I read occasionally, a blog I found via RevGals. His blog is not anonymous at all. In fact, when I read it, I remember thinking, "Oh...I could potentially meet him." But I didn't really expect to. So, at fall conference, we end up sitting at a table for a meal and having to make conversation. I felt so weird, asking questions I normally would when I first meet someone, but some for which I knew the answer. I felt like I was lying. I debated internally, but didn't know how to say, "Yeah, I've read your blog..." without saying, "I have a blog." I wouldn't care if he knew I had a blog or even if some of the people who were also at the table knew, but I didn't want all of them to know--especially as my blog is anonymous. But I still feel I should have let him know that I've read his blog.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Five: Business Travel Edition

1. Does your job ever call for travel? Is this a joy or a burden?
Not really. Once a year we have a Fall Conference and once a year Synod Assembly. But these are always within a few hours and don't so much feel like travel. They usually include one overnight and I'm often able to stay with family or friends.

2. How about that of your spouse or partner?
No business travel for him.

3. What was the best business trip you ever took?
I was privileged to be a voting member of our Churchwide Assembly in 2007. It was exhausting, but an incredible experience.

4. ...and the worst, of course?
Can't think of a worst.

5. What would make your next business trip perfect?
Well--my next 'business' trip is to our Fall Conference in a few weeks. It's about an hour and half away from home, two overnights and two busy days--coming home to an evening of meetings. And Baby Girl is joining me. So--for it to be perfect will include a happy baby during travel and sessions and good sleeping by her during the nights. I'm afraid I'm getting my hopes up and will be fried by the time I have to lead the meetings upon my return.

Monday, September 29, 2008

To Do Today

In an effort to get something accomplished today, I am posting my to do today list here!
  • water plants -- DONE (10:45 a.m.)
  • laundry -- DONE (3:45 p.m.)
  • balance checkbook ~ 3 months worth! -- DONE (3:45 p.m.)
  • vacuum -- DONE, what's going to be anyway (12:30 p.m.)
  • empty garbage throughout house -- DONE (12:30 p.m.)
  • file bank statements, etc.
  • thank you notes for baby gifts
  • take recycling to recycling center -- DONE (6:15 p.m.)
  • box up some items for charity
That doesn't look like so much when I write it. Now if I can just get to it!

ETA ~ if only I didn't think of more things each time I come to mark something off!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


This morning began at 4 a.m. I am NOT a morning person. I tried to coax Baby Girl back to sleep after she ate. I gave up on that at 5 and let her play on the floor while I tried to work on my sermon, which at that point consisted of the lectionary readings and a vague idea. When she fell asleep on the floor at 5:30 and I was falling asleep in the chair, we both went back to bed. I got up at 7 to really write and am making progress now at nearly 8 while she still sleeps.

But I made choices last night that I wonder about...

--Was it that Pepsi I drank before her final nursing session that woke her up in less time than she has been sleeping for most of this week? But she did sleep 6 hours straight, which was what she slept the night before. The rest of the week was 8-10 hours. I was hopeful that we had established that pattern.

--She was snuggly and sleepy last evening, so we snuggled on the couch for 3 hours before bathtime and eventual bedtime. Did I let her sleep too much too comfortably too close to bedtime? And more to the point today, should I have been working on my sermon instead of holding her when she was asleep? I loved every second of the snuggly time, her little chest against mine, her little head on my shoulder so I could sniff the sweet baby smell, the little arms falling in such a way that it felt like an embrace. She is such a gift from God, a promise of God's love, and a proclamation of good news to me. Unfortunately that doesn't translate into the sermon that the people need to hear--and while it makes me feel like a good mother, makes me feel like a bad pastor.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Five ~ Johnny Appleseed

Raise your hand if you know that today is Johnny Appleseed Day!

September 26, 1774 was his birthday. Johnny Appleseed" (John Chapman) is one of America's great legends. He was a nurseryman who started out planting trees in western New York and Pennsylvania, but he was among those who were captivated by the movement west across the continent.

As Johnny traveled west (at that time, the "West" was places like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois) he planted apple trees and sold trees to settlers. With every apple tree that was planted, the legend grew. A devout Christian, he was known to preach during his travels. According to legend, Johny Appleseed led a simple life and wanted little. He rarely accepted money and often donated any money he received to churches or charities. He planted hundreds of orchards, considering it his sevice to humankind. There is some link between Johnny Appleseed and very early Arbor Day celebrations.

So, in honor of this interesting fellow, let's get on with the questions!

1. What is your favorite apple dish? (BIG BONUS points if you share the recipe.)
I love a simple Cortland apple--which for some reason I can't find at grocery stores around me. I also love homemade applesauce (from the Cortlands)...wash, cut, leave the peel on, boil in a little water until soft and mushy, grind (best to do by hand in a food mill as opposed to a blender). Eat warm. Love it!

2. Have you ever planted a tree? If so was there a special reason or occasion you can tell us about?
Growing up, we had 2 pear treas, 1 cherry tree, and 5 apple trees. :) I remember planting some of them. The 5 apple trees were 4 different varieties--Spartan, Yellow Transparent, Golden Delicious, and 2 Cortlands.

3. Does the idea of roaming around the countryside (preaching or otherwise) appeal to you? Why or why not?
Maybe some roaming, but not preaching. I love to travel. I don't like preaching where I'm not part of the community.

4. Who is a favorite "historical legend" of yours?
Apparently I don't have one--I'm having a hard time thinking of one. Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox?

5. Johnny Appleseed was said to sing to keep up his spirits as he traveled the roads of the west. Do you have a song that comes when you are trying to be cheerful, or is there something else that you often do?
What to do when trying to be cheerful--hmm...not really sure. What did I do before Baby Girl? Because now I can I look at her beautiful face and try to get her to smile and giggle. That's the best sight in the world!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why I Never Get Anything Done

Recently, I've realized something about myself. If I start a project, I want to be able to finish it--in a short period of time, if not immediately. I don't want to be interrupted. Of course, interruptions are unavoidable--I know this. But I paralyze myself with the potential for interruptions. Such as, "I can't start writing that blog post because I'll just get it started and Baby Girl will wake up and be hungry." Silly example, but as I look around at the piles and mess that is my house now, it certainly fits for those other things too!

Today is a work at home day, so while Baby Girl is sleeping, I better do some of that. Before I get interrupted!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Never-Ending Story: Chapter Four

This is a meme that Ruth started to create A Never-Ending Story. I have written a Chapter Four based on RevDrKate's Chapter Three. You are invited to either write a Chapter Five from here or take off from someone else's previous chapters. If you want to do a Five from this one, here are the rules: Put a link to this post. Label the Link "Chapter Four." and to Ruth's "Chapter One." Write your own installment and label it "Chapter Five." Remember to leave it unresolved. Come leave a comment on this post when you're done. If you want to follow one of the other threads, head on over to Ruth's blog where there is a box dedicated to this meme. You can find links to all the chapters in process and pick a thread to follow.

Chapter Four

Unconsciously I reached for my coffee, but my hands continued to shake and I promptly spilled it all over the front page of the newspaper. “Pull yourself together,” I said to myself as I gathered up the paper to throw it in the trash. “You need to get ready for work.”

As I went about my morning routine, I couldn’t help but be preoccupied. My daddy died when I was eight years old and I had spent many years trying to put the circumstances of his death out of my mind. Like most children who have lost parents, I had to deal with his absence over and over throughout my life. There were so many “should have” moments—moments that he “should have” been there for. I missed him when I learned to drive, when I brought home my first boyfriend, when I graduated from high school, when I bought my home after I landed my job and M&F Insurance. I had learned how to handle those moments, but I still couldn’t quite come to terms with the intricacies of his death.

Mother didn’t like to talk about those days and as I got older I had more and more questions. I learned very quickly that I should keep those questions to myself. And now Jim Hartman’s phone call brought all of those questions back—starting with the day Daddy died.

I remembered that day. After the phone call that left Mother pale and shaking, she took me by the shoulders. “You need to be a brave and good girl. Daddy’s been,” her voice wavered and she seemed to struggle to find the words. “Daddy’s been in an accident. I need to go see to him.”

Mother and Daddy had rarely left me home alone. “I don’t know how long I will be. If you get hungry, you may make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Have an apple and some milk too. Do not answer the phone or the door. You may watch TV until I get home.”

“But...” I started to say.

“Be a good girl,” Mother said, “I will be home as soon as I can.”

I fell asleep watching TV that night and as I woke up, I could hear Mother whispering on the telephone. Even half asleep, I knew I wasn’t supposed to hear, but I heard bits of Mother’s conversation. “…a guard outside his room…yes, there was a gun…multiple shots…a gambling scheme…he must have been involved…no, I don’t know the details…he never regained consciousness, Jim said.”

“Jim said,” I suddenly said aloud. That thought snapped me out of the fog as I pulled into my parking space. I looked around at the empty parking lot. “Damn, it’s a holiday. M&F is closed today.”

Friday, August 29, 2008

Labor Day Friday Five

Here in the USA we are celebrating the last fling of the good ol' summertime. It is Labor Day weekend, and families are camping, playing in the park, swimming, grilling hotdogs in the backyard, visiting amusement parks and zoos and historical sites and outdoor concerts and whatever else they can find to help them extend summer's sun and play just a little bit longer.

It is supposed to also be a celebration of the working man and woman, the backbone of the American economy, the "salt-of-the-earth neices and nephews of Uncle Sam. With apologies to those in other countries, this is a Friday Five about LABOR. All can play. Put down that hammer, that spoon, that rolling pin, that rake, that pen, that commentary, that lexicon, and let's have some fun.

1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.
I haven't really had a 'worst' job. As a teen, some of my babysitting jobs felt like they were the worst. And even though I'm not really happy in my current job, it's not that the vocation/job is bad--it's the place I am now, physically and emotionally.

2. Tell us about the best job you ever had.
Being a mommy.

3. Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions.
At the moment, I want to be able to stay home with Baby Girl, taking care of her and the rest of my family. I would also love to write for children, perhaps even curriculum for Sunday School or other Christian Education. I still feel called to ordained ministry, so I don't want to leave it completely, but would love a break from the day to day of parish life.

4. Did you get a break from labor this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do about it?
Well...I got a break from the labor of my paid job, but it was because of the other labor I went through! :) Welcoming Baby Girl and taking maternity leave was one kind of break!

5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading?
What's changing is increased craziness at church--too many evenings and meetings and too much leaving Baby Girl. I dread much of it, though particularly teaching confirmation. 61 7th and 8th graders in one room is just too many! (Even if they sit with an adult in small groups and spend have the time in breakout sessions with those adult leaders.)

Bonus question: For the gals who are mothers, do you have an interesting story about labor and delivery (LOL)? If you are a guy pal, not a mom, or you choose not to answer the above, is there a song, a book, a play, that says "workplace" to you?
I don't know that my story about labor and delivery is interesting...but it's recent.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Birthday Wish List

I'm rapidly approaching my golden birthday--Sunday in fact. I gave my husband a list of two things I want: a video camera and a ring. I even showed him a picture of the style of ring I want and we've discussed the video camera.

But what I really really want is to be able to stay home with Baby Girl! I've been pretty unhappy in my job for some time now and it's only getting worse. Add that to leaving Baby Girl 3 days a week and way too many evenings and I'm going to crack. (Despite the fact that she is a wonderful home during those days--a mom I handpicked to watch her and that's she with my huband in the evenings...) I was worried about post-partum depression. The only post-partum depression is the leaving her and the life-sucking that's happening at work.

I need to sit down and pay our bills; I'm going to try to figure out what it would take for me to go "on leave from call." I just don't think I can do this much longer.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Five ~ All Dates

Who knew there were so many ways to think about dates??

Songbird writes at Revgals, "Here are five things to ponder about dates. I hope you'll play!"

1) Datebooks--how do you keep track of your appointments? Electronically? On paper? Month at a glance? Week at a glance?
I like month at a glance on paper and use the free book sent to me each year by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. I did use a Palm for a while, when my husband had one too and we could sync calendars to know what was going on with each other. (Though I still liked paper.) I tried to go electronic again recently with a Blackberry Pearl, but I really don't like it at all! I would like to go portable electronic if I found a system I liked--which is difficult because I really like the month at a glance.

2) When was the last time you forgot an important date?
Apparently I REALLY forgot, because I can't remember! :)

3) When was the last time you went OUT on a date?
My husband and I go out to eat way too much, so I guess those are dates. Though now our dates include a third person....Baby Girl! :) So far she's little enough that she sleeps through a lot or else is awake but happy to just be looking around. She doesn't need a lot yet to be easily entertained. Maybe when she gets older we'll have to start "date night."

4) Name one accessory or item of clothing you love even though it is dated.
Um...I'm not too attached to accessories or clothing. I have no sense of style, so I'm probably never current.

5) Dates--the fruit--can't live with 'em? Or can't live without 'em?
Neither? I do enjoy them in my Basic 4 cereal, but can't say I've eaten many dates on their own--if at all!

Bonus ~ "What's your idea of a perfect date? I'd say April 20th because it's not too hot or too cold. All you need is a light sweater." ~ from Miss Congeniality (probably misquoted--but it's how I remember it)

Bonus Two ~ Is there a date each year that is particularly meaningful for you for any reason? For me there are a few ~ May 1 and June 22 and September 25. I haven't posted about September 25 yet--you'll have to come back then!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

On Being a Mother and Being a Daughter

A few posts ago I listed the blog posts I had written in my head and this was one of the titles. I realize as I look at that list that this particular post was 'written' in my head as a venting post. This will be less venting than it would have been if I had actually written it, I think...I guess we'll see.

I love my mom very much. We've had our ups and downs in recent years and have moved into a relatively healthy balance (at least for us). However, as grateful as I am for the time she spent with us after the birth of Baby Girl, I was ready for her to be gone.

We did really need her--my husband had a few days of school left along with some other important meetings that took him away. Baby Girl was quite jaundiced; I wanted to breastfeed but my milk wasn't in, so the doctor prescribed a "Supplemental Nursing System." (Baby jaundice gets better the more the baby poops--the baby poops more when they eat more, so getting something is crucial.) This system uses formula but requires at least 2 people and could probably use more. If you've never heard of this, you hang this bottle thing around your neck with a straw-like thing that goes down to the nipple, so when the baby nurses on the breast (to help stimulate milk production)--they get formula from the bottle and eventually breast milk too. But in reality, you can't just hang the bottle around your neck and go--it has to be higher than the breast and there is a second straw thing that has to be a certain way so enough air gets in the bottle in order to push the milk out. I could never have done this when hubby was at work. So Mom was able to help.

But--I realized something very important after about ten days, or at least was able to put words to what I was feeling. Two friends were over for dinner while my mom was here and one asked, "Well, what's it like seeing your daughter be a mom?" My mom's response was, "I haven't really thought about it." That's when I realized what I was feeling--she wasn't letting me be a mom, she was mothering both of us. And with the time since I first thought of this post, I am choosing to believe that it was with the best of intentions. She was mothering me--making sure my body had a chance to heal, that I got enough rest, and took care of myself. And her way of doing this was to take care of Baby Girl too--and not let me take care of her sometimes.

I'll have to have a part 2 to this post--Baby Girl is hungry!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Five ~ "What's in a Name?"

If you are a regular reader of Songbird's blog, you know that "The Princess" has requested a new name. Her older brother changed his "secret identity" a while back and now this lovely young lady is searching for a new name on her mother's blog. This got me to thinking. How do we come up with all of these names? There must be at least a few good stories out there.

1. So how did you come up with your blogging name? And/or the name of your blog?
I wrote my first blog post over and over in my head and then had a friend read it before I decided to actually start to blog. It was from that post that inspired my blog's name. As for my blogging name--it seems like I'm always the "Silent" one.

2. Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there?
I've been intending to create pseudonyms for others on my blog, but my creativity just isn't there. So, no. Maybe eventually. For now, it's all practicality. Except I'm going to call my precious girl "Baby Girl" because when my husband calls her that in real life, the way he says it makes it sound like a name and that's how I'll hear it when I write it.

3. What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama, or sheer, crazy fun?
There are too many to choose! It seems like every blog I visit is so creative.

4. What three blogs are you devoted to? Other than the RevGalBlogPals blog of course!
There a few blogs that I visit daily: Jessica at What, You Too?, Songbird, More Cows. There are a number of others that I visit frequently too though.

5. Who introduced you to the world of blogging and why?
Jessica at What, You Too? is a good friend from my college and seminary years. I learned about blogging by reading hers. It was a way to keep in touch while she was living overseas. I started clicking on the links from her blog to others and was hooked on reading. Then I decided to take a brave step for me and start my own.

Bonus question: Have you ever met any of your blogging friends? Where are some of the places you've met these fun folks?
I've only met blogging friends that I knew pre-blog days, like Jess. But I'm hopeful that someday I'll meet others!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mind-Recognition Software

There is such a thing as voice-recognition software; it's too bad there isn't such a thing as mind-recognition software--because I've written lots of posts in my head during the middle of the night nursing sessions.

Here are some titles:

Letter to my bishop
On being a mother and being a daughter
"Showered" with gifts
Reflections on baptism

And yet--they are somehow pretty much all about my baby. I can't help it--she is my heart.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Face I've Always Known

So, my baby is three weeks old--yesterday actually. People ask who she looks like. I look at my precious girl and she looks like her. Others have said she looks like her half-sister and half-brother. My mom said that she looks like my sister and more often that she looks like my dad. My dad died 21 years ago today when I was 9. I remember him, but yet I don't--not as much as I'd like and not as much as I used to and not enough to say. My mom will be bringing me a picture of my grandma (my dad's mom) and said that it will show me why she thinks my girl looks like my dad.

But I look at my sweet baby's face and while I will forever say that she looks like her, I look at her and can't help but feel as though I'm looking at a face I've always known.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

One Week

Anyone who's read this blog at all over the past few months knows that I've managed to make every post about my baby due at the end of June. This is no exception, but this post really deserves to be about my precious baby.

One week ago today, Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m., I woke up and had to use the bathroom. I did, came back to bad, had an awful charlie horse which my husband helped me to get rid of. The next thing I knew, my water broke.

I jumped up and ran to the bathroom. I had planned to pack my hospital bag later that day--well, I franticly packed a bag after calling the doctor and waiting for a return call.

My doctor called back and told me to go to the hospital, which we did. I was admitted and we waited. We took a few walks around the birth center floor. I was monitored both for uterine contractions and baby heartbeat. Since I was just short of 36 weeks and had not yet been re-checked for Group B strep, I had to be given antibiotics as a precaution.

I was apparently having contractions, but I wasn't feeling them and they also weren't too productive. About 11 a.m., my doctor ordered pitocin basically to induce labor. Not much happened until about 4 p.m. when things really started moving. The doctor came to check on me and her first words were, "Holy Cow" ~ I was dilated 4-5 cm and really had no complaints about pain. They kept having to increase the pitocin. I was having contractions--clearly feeling them but they weren't nearly as bad as I expected. And things really started going at 5 p.m. About 6 p.m., my contractions were starting to be on top of each other and I really wanted to push but we had to wait for the doctor. She arrived around then, I guess--based on what I heard later.

After 45 minutes of pushing (which to me felt more like 15 if I would have had to guess), my beautiful baby girl was placed on my tummy at 6:58 p.m. A neonatologist had been brought in for the delivery too ~ I heard them say that he was in the room, but I had my eyes closed so didn't see him until he said that he was leaving because all looked fine. The nurse for the baby came down from the NICU just to make sure, but my precious baby was 6 lbs 1.2 oz, 18 1/2 in. long, with an APGAR score of 8-9 (out of 10). So even though she was early, she was in great shape and we could go to the regular nursery and postpartum room.

They had planned to hold a shower at church for me on Sunday, so my mom happened to be in town. We called her to come in to see her first grandbaby (biological at least--two stepgrandchildren who came into our lives at a bit older stage of life).

We came home on Monday evening. Tonight my precious girl is one week old ~ and doing great. It's been a blur; it's been amazing; it's been unbelievable. We are so blessed.

Friday, May 30, 2008

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five ~ Garage Sale

Since will smama is preparing for a joint garage sale with her parents, and Songbird's church had a Yard and Plant Sale last Saturday, we have five enormously important questions we hope you will answer:

1) Are you a garage saler?
I'm not really a garage saler--now. Growing up my family always had one or two a year. We would do them jointly with other families and I loved them! I loved sitting at the table taking money, and especially earning some of my own. I think my parents relished the chance for my sister and I to get rid of stuff, so they let us earn some money for the items we put out. (We had a fairly detailed labeling system to determine who received what profits.) My mom would often take us with her too as we went to many garage sales. I don't remember much stuff making its way home though. I guess it was cheap entertainment--and a chance for us kids to spend the few bucks we made at our own sale.

2) If so, are you an immediate buyer or a risk taker who comes back later when prices are lower?
I'm more likely to be an immediate buyer--if I even go out.

3) Seriously, if you're not a garage saler, you are probably not going to want to play this one.
(That wasn't really #3.)
3) This is the real #3: What's the best treasure you've found at a yard or garage sale?
Can't think of one--so I'll say the best treasure that we had at our yard sales was the "Free Box"--full of things like Happy Meal Toys and random junk that kids love. It keeps kids occupied and happy while parents really look at what's for sale.

4)If you've done one yourself, at church or at home, was it worth the effort?
Now that I'm an adult, I don't think it's worth the effort.

5) Can you bring yourself to haggle?
I hate haggling, so I won't do it. My husband would be likely to though! So I'd just have to bring him along.

BONUS: For the true aficionado: Please discuss the impact of Ebay, Craig's List, Freecycle, etc... on the church or home yard/garage sale.
What I like about these options as a buyer is being able to look for just what I want without having to go to 18 different places in hopes they will have it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Still Standing?

Wow--it has only been a week and one day, but I feel like I haven't blogged in forever. Maybe because I've shoved about a month's worth of activity into this past week--or maye it was shoved into the week for me! I'm really not sure which.

Friday through Sunday I was at my synod's annual assembly. I really, really enjoy assemblies. Last year, I even served as a voting member at my churchwide assembly. At it, I reconnected with the bishop from my home synod who presided at my ordination. I don't know him all that well, but my family has known him for years. He asked about my family--particularly my mom. As we were chatting, another person came over and joined the conversation. The bishop introduced me and said, "She's a church groupie--the only bigger church groupie is her mother." This is true; I embrace it. I love, love, love, church gatherings beyond the congregational level. No big hoopla at assembly--though we did elect a new bishop. I'll miss the current one very much when he retires. So, though it was a good event, it was very tiring.

Sunday, I actually left early to attend my step-son's high school graduation. (Yes--for those reading who haven't read every blog...I'm expecting my first child in June, but my husband has two children--one newly graduated and one who is finishing up her freshman year of high school. He started really young the first time around.) The ceremony itself was fine except that the gym where it was held was about 852 degrees. Not very nice for this already puffy pregnant girl! Then came the real fun--hanging out at his open house, held at his mom's house. Thankfully we all (kids, husband, ex, step-dad, me, various in-laws) get along really, really well. It's just that after my hubby's parents left, we really didn't know any other guests, so it was pretty boring. By the end of the hour drive home though I was exhausted.

Monday was a fairly quiet day--thankfully. Because Tuesday turned into a whopper! 7:30 a.m. I left home for a third ultrasound to check something of concern by the doctor on Monday. I haven't heard back from the doctor's office, but the ultrasound tech was reassuring that there wasn't a problem. I called my husband to let him know the results of the ultrasound; he had managed to get people to cover his classes for the other two and just wasn't able to make it work this time--especially since he planned to be gone Wednesday to take my step-son to register for college. He told me that the other teachers had brought in gifts for a shower that day and that it would be cool if I could come eat lunch with him to open them. So I went in to the office for a few hours and then left for that. Teachers don't have really long lunch times, especially because hubby had recess duty, but we got some lovely and thoughtful gifts. They did a 'shower' shower--so the baby will be very clean for a long time with all the soap. Then back to the office for a few hours. Tried to keep it short since I had a meeting that evening too. So I went home and sat just briefly until hubby came home. We had to take a bike wheel in for repair, so decided to take it and with step-son go out to eat and then I'd go to my meeting. After the meeting, had a message and talked to hubby--father-in-law being airlifted from home 3 hours from us to best hospital in the area 1 hour from us with a brain bleed. So--I frantically packed a few things for overnight; he took care of getting a sub--and we headed off. Met ex to drop off step-son and went to hospital. Thankfully it wasn't quite as severe as it sounded from that. They would admit him and do surgery on Wednesday. We did drive home to sleep, getting home around 12:30 or so. That felt more like 3 days than one.

Wednesday, we went back to hospital when he was in surgery. This is the short version. The blood was actually a clot that had formed between the brain and the skull and was putting pressure on the brain. They drilled holes and sucked it out and left a drain in. He was doing fine coming out of anesthesia so we left late afternoon. We did not go back today, but have gotten word that they took the drain out so he can be up. May go home as early as tomorrow.

Thankfully no sermon to write this week, but lots to do in next weeks in preparation for baby. I'm trying very hard to only do what needs to be done. Easier said than done. But I'm still standing--or at least still functioning and trying to find time to sit and put those puffy feet up! Which is what I'm going to do now.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ready for Baby?

I cannot believe how fast the last months have gone! I'm down to 5 1/2 weeks to my due date--which is really close. There are still a few things I need to do to get ready, some important things to buy--like diapers and a car seat. Beyond that, I think we could get by for a short time with what we already have. But I've been waiting. The folks here at my church are going to have a shower for me on June 1, so I figure on June 2, I'll go shopping for whatever I don't get and that we need.

I've heard of many women at this point who are simply tired of being pregnant. I don't feel that way. I love being pregnant (in spite of the swollen fingers rendering me unable to wear my wedding ring and in spite of the swollen feet at the end of the day). I love feeling this baby move inside me as I try to guess--was that a happy kick or scared kick? Was it even a kick? Or just a roll? Was that a finger poke? I love my maternity clothes--mostly. And I feel more attractive than I have for a long time--not sexy, but attractive. I feel like I've got this pregnancy thing down. I could stay pregnant forever. Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited to see this baby and hold it in my arms.

But the reason I'm ready now is that I am so aching for a break from work. I'm looking forward to a mini-sabbatical, in a way. I know I won't sleep...I know I'll be exhausted...I know I won't get any of the reading I want to do done...I know I won't tackle the many projects at home I'd love to do...but I won't be at work. I'll get a break from church, from this place that is slowly stealing bits of me. I'm ready for a break--now. It's like I'm looking forward to summer vacation--I just don't know when it's going to start!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Happy May Day!

Today is the day of some pretty significant anniversaries for me.

May 1, 2003 ~ The very first day of my very first call as an ordained pastor. I had been ordained in April and would be installed at my congregation on May 10th, but my first day was May 1st. For the month of May, my husband and I would be living in two different cities, with the major move of household happening mid-month so that each of us would be living with an air mattress and basic necessities about half the month. So on the morning of May 1st, I drove the two-ish hours from our home to my new town, my new church, expecting it to be a somewhat quiet day. I'd get to know the senior pastor and office manager better; I'd do some unpacking in my office; I'd just generally get my bearings. Instead, it was the "First Annual Senior Pizza Party" for members of the congregation over 60. So I got to meet 40-50 people and be fully overwhelmed!

May 1, 2008 ~ Today was the "Fifth Annual Senior Pizza Party." I knew everyone who came through the line. I helped serve pizza and ice cream and just generally had a good time. I got to watch them visit and chat and enjoy one another and chat with a few myself. I also got to visit and connect with the ladies in the kitchen, another important ministry I believe.

May 1, 1999 ~ My love surprised me with a May Day basket--set outside the door of my dorm. A basket filled in the bottom with almond hershey's kisses (gold wrapper looks somewhat like dirt) and a single rose--that was a jewelry case bearing the most beautiful diamond I had ever seen. We had talked about marriage before; I even knew he had a ring. He's not so good at secrets. I had told him that if he proposed, I would say yes. There were only a few critera. He had to pick out the ring himself and he had to suprise me with the proposal--both of which he pulled off amazingly!

May 1, 2008 ~ Today we are expecting our first child, in about two more months. We've had some ups and downs, as all couples do. He's still not so good at secrets and neither of us is so good at surprises. But I absolutely love him with all my heart and am grateful that we should be able to spend the evening together--not something that generally happens between my evening meetings and his track coaching. But before I get home to meet him tonight, I think I'll stop by the store for some almond hershey's kisses--which to me always taste like love.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I'm trying to do better taking care of myself. In fact, I can feel that I'm doing better--at least some moments.

Yesterday afternoon, I went home for a while in the afternoon. It was a day and amount of time that I wouldn't have in the past. I laid down for a couple hours and ended up taking a nap for at least some of that time. It was glorious!

Today, I worked getting things accomplished all day and have just hit a wall. Unfortunately, there is no time to get a nap in now. I don't live far away from work, but far enough away that only having 45 minutes isn't enough time.

Thankfully tonight, though it still will be a few more hours, the plan is that I'm not in charge of anything really--just present. That I think I'll be able to handle. And I will sleep well tonight!

I got a lot accomplished today, so tomorrow won't be so bad and I'm taking Friday off!! I have plenty to do at home as guests are coming Saturday and my home is not currently guest ready, but that uses such different mental energy that it will be fine.

Wow--this is a very boring post, but I really wanted to write something. And I was hoping to get through this wall!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Looking Inside, Part Two

Pregnancy has helped me take some time to take some stock of my inner workings and I've realized some very important things. Though I guess I knew it on some level, I didn't let myself admit it until just recently. I've really been hanging on to my emotional health and well-being by a thread. I've been beyond high stress to potential burn-out and just barely staying sane and barely avoiding falling headlong into depression. And I've been hiding it well--because that's what I do. And in so doing, in hiding my feelings, in trying to function, I have a tendency to put others first without taking time to truly care for myself in the process.

As I face the remaining few months of my pregnancy, I've become even more aware of this. And I realize that when this baby is born, my baby will truly come first--even more so than I am now. And so, I'm making sure to take care of myself these months. And sometimes, that will cause me to do things that I maybe haven't done before. I might seem selfish or uncaring and I might hurt other's feelings. I might not be the colleague that is wanted, or expected, or maybe even the colleague I'd be if I was at my best. And I'm sorry if that stings or hurts feelings.

But I have to grasp hold of that thread and hang on and try to regain some emotional health. I'm scared that I will fall into post-partum depression and I've told my husband that, so he'll be on particular watch for that. And I also believe that the healthier I am prior to this baby's birth, the less likely that is to happen. So I've got to do this, to do what I need to manage my emotional health, even if it means someone's feelings will be hurt.

Now...if only I have the nerve to say this to the person who really needs to hear it, but probably won't hear it even if I say it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Looking Inside

The title came--but that's about the only words right now.

I feel like I have so little to give...I am trying so hard to keep being who I've been for so long and I just can't do it. I'm trying to create some space, some framework, some sanity.

I am so grateful that my pregnancy has physically been so easy. If I had to deal with physical stuff too, I think I'd explode. Is there such a thing as pre-partum depression? Maybe that's just good old regular depression...and I've gotten really good at pushing through, trying to hide it, trying to keep giving to everyone and I can't do it.

I can barely get through 'tasks;' I don't have time for relationships too--especially one that took so much work before too.

Okay--I'm getting nowhere now except tears and I don't have time for them right now. It's Wednesday after all--confirmation lesson to set up teach, youth evening to pysch up for, in addition to the to-do list that's a mile long here, let alone the personal one.

I don't want solutions or attemps to fix...but if you read, I'd appreciate knowing I'm not alone.

I've got to make some time to look inside.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Moving Friday Five

Mother Laura at RevGals writes: We are right in the middle of a move--only twenty minutes away, but we're still a mix of busy, excited, nervous and surprisingly full of grief about what we're leaving, for me at least. So this week's Friday Five asks about your experience of the marvels and madness of moving...

1. How many times have you moved? When was the last time?
First move was when I was about a year old--across town. Does that count? The next moves were the annual moves to and from college. After that, it was a move to big city for seminary, a temporary summer move to live with my sister for CPE between my two years on campus. Then I got married and moved in with my husband. We lived in one place for about two years and them moved to our current town. We rented for about two months before purchasing our current home. My mom moved from my childhood home about three years ago. I haven't really moved a lot and the last move was about five years ago.

2. What do you love and hate about moving?
I hate packing and unpacking. I admit that I'm a 'sentimental saver.' Doesn't that sound better than 'packrat'? I'm working on that. I love getting to arrange a new space and make it home.

3. Do you do it yourself or hire movers?
When we moved to this town, the congregation paid for movers, otherwise it'd be on our own. I still did my own packing. And there were certain things that we moved ourselves, partly for 'security.' The hundred year old (or more) dishes that have been in my family for generations went in my car. Also, we did live in two cities for a month, so for half the month, each of us had the bulk of the furniture and the other had an air mattress and bare necessities.

4. Advice for surviving and thriving during a move?

5. Are you in the middle of any inner moves, if not outer ones?
See...last week I said that I could make any post or Friday Five about my baby...Here we go again. Moving inside me is a new life, a little person that I love so much. And that brings with it the move into motherhood. I've been a stepmom, but not custodial, and not for an infant, so it's a new territory. And I'm aching for an outer move too--or at least some sort of inner move that will allow me to thrive in this place once again.

Bonus: Share a piece of music/poetry/film/book that expresses something about what moving means to you.
I'll have to think longer and harder about this one!

Friday, April 04, 2008

God Revealed Friday Five

Sally at RevGals writes, "With this Sunday's gospel reading in mind, that wonderful revelation of Christ to the companions on the Emmaus road. I wonder where you might have been surprised by God's revelation recently.

So with no further waffle I offer you this weeks Friday 5:

How has God revealed him/herself to you in a:"

1. Book
I love books. I love words. I cannot think of a single book to answer this questions. However, in recent years, I've started to listen to books on tape. In fact, for my Lenten discipline last year, I listened to the entire Bible on CD whenever I was in my car. I think God is revealed more when I just surround myself with beautiful words--whether those are from the Bible, or fluff fiction reading, or serious reading, or blogs, or...

I don't watch a lot of movies, but after much thought, one came to mind. And I fully admit that it's a bit of a stretch, but my answer is The Terminal with Tom Hanks. Not a great cinematic masterpiece, but a decent movie. Within weeks of it coming out (maybe the Friday it came out), I was really struggling with writing a sermon. By Friday afternoon, I had zilch, nada, nothing to even begin to write a sermon with. So my husband and I went to a movie--The Terminal. I was determined that somehow it was going to relate--or if not, at least I'd be able to concentrate on sermonizing when the movie was over. I'm a lectionary preacher and one of the texts was 'the fruit of the Spirit.' I used the movie and Viktor (Tom Hank's character) as an example of living out these fruits. Viktor was led to live these fruits out in his life as he was guided and motivated by a promise that he made to his father. We, as Christians, are called to live out these fruits as we too are guided and motivated by a promise, but in our case, it's the promise that God makes to us, the promise of everlasting love. Everytime I think of the movie, I think of that too.

3. Song
Too many to count...mostly hymns, but many other songs too.

4. Another person
It seems to be my goal to make every Friday Five or post somehow about my baby! But really, being pregnant and carrying this other person in my body has shown me God in more ways that I could ever have thought possible.

5. Creation
This one deserves its own post--maybe someday. The short version is that in the midst of some difficult times, God wiped my tears off my face--figuratively and literally through the wonder of creation.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Day to Breathe

Finally...a day to breathe. Actually probably even more. No plans for tonight, tomorrow or Monday. Sunday includes the usual morning of worship services, but I'm not preaching, so there isn't any prep and I have a one week reprieve from teaching Sunday School.

So this is my to do list....
1. breathe
2. sleep
3. eat

Well, there's more, but I'm giving myself permission to only accomplish the above. If any of the following get done, that's just a bonus...
1. scheduling some vacation days pre-baby
2. laundry
3. cleaning out/reorganizing spaces to prepare for baby
4. planning remainder of confirmation unit
5. doing some planning about what needs to be done at church prior to/during/immediately following my maternity leave
6. file some paperwork

Now--off to begin the breathing!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"It is Finished"

That was my assigned portion of Jesus' Seven Last Words for our ecumenical Good Friday service last night.

But here's what is finished today...
my Easter sermon
my desire to do anything else productive
my desire to be around anyone, particularly one who doesn't have the patience for me to be frustrated occasionally, one who likes me when I'm happy or doing things that are for that one's benefit, so walks away if I'm remotely grumpy

Here's what has to get done yet today...
Easter vigil service
prep required for Easter children's sermon
newsletter article

What else in the next few days...
organizing papers for appointment with accountant at 9 a.m. Monday (what was I thinking?)
clean the house
next unit of confirmation curriculum
make the list of the 8000 things that need to be done soon and figure out what I need to do next in order to get to a place that is better for me emotionally

So what comes next?
Go through the motions and fake it the best I can because that's all I have to give right now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Choose an Identity

Lately I've noticed on blogger comments, in order to post a comment, you have to "Choose an identity." And I do...I go about logging in so that I can post comments and responses to various posts. But I'm not sure in the years (is it possibly nearly two!?) I've been blogging that I've ever noticed those words before. Maybe it's because they seem to encapsulate some things going on in me right now.

So what are my choices?

Mommy ~ On and off (mostly on) throughout I the day, I feel this little person inside me. I can't tell yet what are kicks or pokes or what exactly the movements are. Sometimes I think the baby is hiccuping. I think it might freak me out if/when I can see the actual outline of a body part on my belly. And it's possible that as the baby gets bigger and gets more confined, it won't feel so good. But for now, this is what I love--what I live for. Feeling this little person, someone I love with more love than I ever thought possible. I am sure that I was created to be pregnant. I have never felt more like I am what I was created to be.

Pastor ~ Recently I had an interview for a different position, in many ways completely unlike my current one. One of the things that came out of my mouth was that I'm a pastor because that is who I am. The things that I do as a pastor I do because it's what I'd be doing anyhow--caring for others, loving others, endeavoring to share and show God's love to the world around me. I think that's true.

But I can't do it here. I am so ready to walk out of this building and not come back. Of course, there are people I love and people who I will deeply miss. But if my choices are mommy or pastor here, I think I just want mommy. Our budget won't allow me giving up an income. The place I interviewed is no longer an option...unless someone else turns them down. It's too far away to commute and I'm not going to try to switch doctors mid-pregnancy. this point, I don't know if I'm only out of the running because I can't start for months or something else. (If I'll ever know more than that, I'm not sure.)

So for today...I'm just looking ahead to Easter. Thinking about how I'm going to make it through the next week and a half. Then I'll start again...and try to figure out what comes next.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Signs of Spring Friday Five

Sally at RevGals writes, "It has been a difficult week here in Dowham Market, and yet in the sadness there have been signs of real hope, young people, often criticised have shown us how caring and amazing they are. It has also been a strange week; it snowed for almost the first time this winter, and yet many of the spring bulbs are blooming, and the trees are blossoming!

I believe that if we look carefully we can see signs of hope all around us.... as for signs of spring... well you tell me....

Bluebells in my garden, before the snow!"

What have you seen/ heard this week that was a :

1. Sign of hope?

Volunteers stepping forward for some exciting programs

2. An unexpected word of light in a dark place?

I was finally able to connect with a friend/colleague in person. We've been trying for a month but weather and other circumstances were preventing it. So, meeting was somewhat expected, but I didn't expect it to be so meaningful!

3. A sign of spring?

We can actually see some grass amidst the snow? I'm aching for more!!

4. Challenging/ surprising?

Right now, it feels like every piece of my job (and it feels like a job, not a call or ministry at the moment) is challenging--mostly though the emotional toll working with the other pastor is taking on me.

5. Share a hope for the coming week/month/year....

Week ~ get prepared for Holy Week
Month ~ get through Holy Week without too much exhaustion and then recover
Year ~ a relatively easy delivery of a healthy baby in June and that I'll be a good mom

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leaping Friday Five

Over at RevGals, will smama and Songbird write ~

It's Leap Day!! Whether you're one of the special few who have a birthday only once every four years, or simply confused by the extra day on the calendar, everyone is welcome to join in and play our Leap Year Friday Five.

Tell us about a time you:

1. Leapt before looked
I tend to be a looker before leaper, particularly in the big things. The only things that come to mind here are impulse purchases, but even those tend to be cheap in the grand scheme of things.

2. Leapt to a conclusion
I think I too often jump to negative conclusions about my husband's motivations. He doesn't do things (or rather not do them) to bug me. He's just forgetful and cares about different things than me.

3. Took a Leap of Faith
Entering ordained ministry is/was a huge leap of faith for me, a full-blown introvert.

4. Took a literal Leap
Not so much a literal leaper either!

5. And finally, what might you be faced with leaping in the coming year?
Welcoming a new baby into our family. I'm grateful for the fact that pregnancy takes time, that it's not a sudden leap! Hopefully, I will also be leaping into a new call. It's time; it's past time. But it's bound to be a leap because so many other people's lives are impacted by such a decision.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Time to Join Facebook?

Yesterday I received a very excited email from my older sister, who (apparently) is on Facebook. I may have known this; I may not have. She was excited because a friend had found her and emailed her. This friend had lived with us for a year when she and my sister were high school seniors and I was a seventh grader. Said friend was from Finland. She became part of our family--in fact, she and I looked more like sisters than my sister and I do! We visited Finland and her family a year or so later. We kept in touch for many years, sending Christmas gifts and birthday cards. And then we lost touch. I think my mom still sends Christmas cards, but to no reply. Until yesterday, when my sister received an email from her. That doesn't sound nearly as exciting as it is...I'll have to write more about this friend soon (and come up with some fun pseudonyms for this blog...)!

For today, I've been making a list about whether or not to join Facebook. And I can't decide if these reasons are pros or cons!

~ I'm a pastor, a public figure. Do I want to be even MORE public? But at the same time, could I use this to connect with the youth of my congregation? Or even tech savvy adults?

~ My sister and some friends are on it. But I connect with most of them by email or other ways. Unless there are people on it who I don't know are on it.

~ My teenage stepdaughter is on it, I think. Would she 'friend' me? (I think that's how it goes.) Would that be good or bad?

~ It's another online way to suck away my time. (And another username and password to remember.)

~ Who knows who might find me? But now that we are able to be in touch with said friend, is there anyone else I want to reconnect with for whom this is the most likely way?

So, any readers out there, what do you think? For Facebook or against?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Book Meme

I have been tagged for this meme by RevDrKate so here are the instructions and the play:

Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more: The book is Someday by Karen Kingsbury. I'm trying to make more time to read for fun and this was my reading last night. It's light Christian fiction, but full of beautiful words.

Find Page 123: flip, flip, flip......
Find the first 5 sentences: 'k here we go......1, 2, 3, 4, 5......
Post the next three sentences: "Ashley had found it in the box of letters in her parents' closet and thought it was for Brooke, the only firstborn they'd known up to that point. Instead, Ashley read it and realized it was directed toward a son, a brother she'd never known. The letter had changed everything, but until now it had never occurred to Ashley that the precious words from her mother were still tucked in their original envelope."

Tag five people....I tag:
and anyone else so inclined!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Baptism Friday Five

Friday Five: The Water and the Word

In this Sunday's gospel Nicodemus asks Jesus, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Poor old Nicodemus! He was so confused about the whole "water and Spirit" business of baptism.

For today's five, tell us about your baptismal experiences.
When and where were you baptized? Do you remember it? Know any interesting tidbits?
I was baptized when I was 25 days old, at the same congregation in which my dad had been baptized and confirmed. (And later where we had his funeral and where I was ordained.) Pretty obviously, I do not remember it, but I do know stories! I didn't cry, which was amazing because I would scream whenever my mom would bathe me. I hated water. I also was supposed to wear the baptismal gown that my mom and sister had worn, but my sister (who was 5) threw a fit and decided that I needed to wear something that matched her favorite green dress. So, I wore a pale green gown.

What's the most unexpected thing you've ever witnessed at a baptism?
As a Lutheran pastor, it is my joy to preside at baptisms, usually of infants. Since I usually baptize infants, it's still somewhat unexpected when the infant clearly makes eye contact with me as I mark the oil cross on their forehead and say, "Child of God, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever." When this happens, I get goosebumps.

Does your congregation have any special traditions surrounding baptisms?
At our congregation, an older couple whose daughter died as a young woman always buys a rose for the child being baptized in memory of their daughter. Also, there is a group of ladies who make banners with the child's name and baptismal date for the child to keep.

Are you a godparent or baptismal sponsor? Have a story to tell?
I am a baptismal sponsor for my nephew. As much as I love the chance to preside at baptisms, it's also kind of fun to be on the other side.

Do you have a favorite baptismal song or hymn?
I'm not sure it's really a baptismal hymn, but John Ylvisaker's "I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry" is one of my favorites!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

My husband and I had our "date" this morning at 8 a.m. We went together for the ultrasound of our baby. It was my first ultrasound and it was amazing!! It is unbelievable to see the face and hands and feet and even the baby's internal organs (heart and kidneys). Everything looks good and the right size for our expected due date. As if I didn't love this baby already (or my husband), but what a perfect and love-filled way to spend Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Lenten Friday Five

Over at RevGals, these are the questions of the day:

1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras and/or Ash Wednesday this week? How?
No. Mardi Gras isn't a personal tradition of mine even though I have participated in some events in the past. A foot of snow prevented us from holding our Ash Wednesday service. It was, however, wonderful to spend the whole day at home. I even made it a day off by doing very little. I think the most productive thing I did was take a shower. It was lovely.

2. What was your most memorable Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday/Lent?
There's not one in particular that stands out. The last few years I lived at home, my home congregation had a Mardi Gras Pancake supper. I was the "princess," wearing an old prom dress, taking tickets, and handing out beads. My mom was often in charge, so it meant we were there from beginning to bitter end, making it a long night and a lot of work, but a fun time for our congregation.

3. Did you/your church/your family celebrate Lent as a child? If not, when and how did you discover it?
We always attended Ash Wednesday services and midweek worship services. We sometimes did more focused family devotions.

4. Are you more in the give-up camp, or the take-on camp, or somewhere in between?
Somewhere in between but closer to take-on. Last year, I took on the practice of listening to the Bible on CD whenever I drove in my car alone. It was lovely to have the Word of God surround me in the quietness even when I didn't focus directly on the specifics.

5. How do you plan to keep Lent this year?
I don't have plans this year. That sounds bad, but it's taking all my energy to be pregnant, love my family, and do all the things I need to at home and work. That's all I have and I believe God understands. Nourishing this little person inside me is all I can do this Lent.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


One of the things I've read about pregnancy is about a nesting instinct, the desire to make a home for the baby and family. To some extent I'm doing that. I keep looking at cribs and baby clothing and imagining what's to come.

But it looks like I'm really nesting! For Christmas, my mom gave me a cozy down blanket to curl up in while I sit on the couch. But it's shedding like crazy, so when I stand up, the area is covered with feathers.

I guess that will cover the nesting instinct for now!

Monday, February 04, 2008


It has been a rotten few days--two funerals (one for 85 year old man, one for 17 month old girl) plus their visitations, one high school lock in, one "beat cabin fever" party at church, normal weekend stuff, bad cold, and overdrawing our checking account. Today is my day off which I've managed to sleep most of away because I am completely and totally exhausted. But our house looks like crap--partly me I know, but how hard is it for a grown man and two teenagers to put their dishes in the sink and put the garbage in the garbage can? I just feel like curling up in a ball and crying...I was really praying for a snow day so husband could help with some of this house. How on earth am I going to work full time and take care of a baby when I can't even manage now?

Thursday, January 31, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about babies today in particular. Within the first hour or so of being awake today, I was informed about the death of a 17 month old in my congregation and decided which new pair of maternity pants I would wear that would be comfortable for a long day today but also look professional.

I've been thinking a lot about babies for a few months now. My baby (my first) is due June 30, 2008. I'm pretty preoccupied by this, which I think is fair and understandable. I've been blessed to feel good--very little morning sickness. Some fatigue, but I'm mostly past the point where I fall asleep if I sit for more than two minutes. At my last three appointments, I've been able to hear the baby's heartbeat--even at the first one when I wasn't supposed to worry if I couldn't because it was so early. I'm not really showing yet...but I'm big enough that my usual pants don't fit comfortably. I happened upon an awesome sale yesterday and purchased 2 pairs of pants and 2 tops for $35. I should be able to wear all 4 pieces of clothing for the rest of my pregnancy--or at least most of it.

Today, I'm really glad I'm not showing much. On Saturday, when we do the visitation and funeral for this precious 17 month old baby who died, I'm not sure that I could handle it--nor would I want them to have to watch their visibly pregnant pastor preside over the funeral of their baby.

This baby has had a difficult 17 months; she was born with multiple birth defects. She's had a feeding tube and been on oxygen her whole life. They have spoken of deafness, but I'm not sure if they knew for sure. She had multiple body casts already this far to help reshape her pelvis. Some of her inner organs were turned. She fell asleep last night and didn't wake up this morning. There is no doubt in my mind that life is better for her today. And I know too she was loved and that the life she lived on this earth meant something. Her family and our church family did what they could to love her and make her short life sweet and wonderful. I know her family is hurting, hurting in a way that I can't fully understand, but can understand more than I could 3 months ago.

I've been thinking about babies today. Mostly though about God's babies and praying that God will hold us all.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

January in the Midwest

This morning it was 49 degrees at 6:30 a.m. We are now under a blizzard warning. Schools are getting out early. And the low tonight is supposed to be -2 degrees. Yuck!

Friday, January 25, 2008

COLD Friday Five

Singing Owl at RevGals writes, "Brrrr! Baby, it’s COLD outside! At least that is the case where I am this morning. We are in a January deep freeze. Have a cup of hot tea and tackle five easy seasonal questions.

1. What is the thermometer reading at your house this morning?
I was afraid to look. Last night during the 10 p.m. news, the air temperature was -15. (-30 with windchill) It's cold--that's enough for me!

2. Snow—love it or hate it?
I love watching a nice gentle snow--from inside. Actually, it's warmer than it is now when it is snowing, so that would be preferred! I hate, hate, hate to drive in snow or any winter weather though.

3. What is winter like where you are?
Winter is cold, often snowy. This year has been odd. We had a few days of 60 degree weather in January, which is unusual.

4. Do you like winter sports? Any good stories?
I'm not a big fan of winter sports. I'm just not good at them. I have tried both skiing and snowboarding. The day my husband tried to teach me to ski was the same day that my brother-in-law taught his wife (who was then his new girlfriend) to ski. We had been married about 6 months or so, but had been together for four years. My husband stood by and watched, occasionally walking next to me. I'd fall and my husband would bark, "Get up." Brother-in-law held sister-in-law's hands walking backwards down the hill as she skied. I think she may have fallen once and he rushed to help her up. New love...can't beat it!

5. What is your favorite season, and why?
Spring. I love that it's getting warm and knowing it's going to be warm for a while. I also love the new-ness of spring awakenings in my part of the country. The leaves appearing, the flowers shooting up, the days getting longer. Love all of that!

Bonus: Share a favorite winter pick-me-up. A recipe, an activity, or whatever.
I love to curl up under a blanket with a good book, napping if it happens, but mostly the feeling of not having to be productive. Or I love to spend hours working on a puzzle because all winter my family would have a puzzle on our dining room table. We'd spend evenings and weekends gathered around the table working on it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Not too deep--but a post

Your Birthdate: August 31

You're a pretty traditional person. If it's lasted, it's probably good.
You seek stability - both in your career and your romantic relationship.
In return, you're very loyal and predictable. Which is usually a good thing.
Without a partner, you feel lost. Being with someone is very important to you.

Your strength: Your dependability

Your weakness: You hate being alone

Your power color: Midnight blue

Your power symbol: Shell

Your power month: April

For a 'quiz' that consists of only entering a birthdate, this is pretty accurate. But 'power month,' what does that mean?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thoughts on Blogging

I am not a very regular poster to this blog. At least once a month, so that my OCD self doesn't go crazy for a month not appearing in the archives. Beyond that...not always so much.

I do, however, read a lot of blogs--often not commenting, but reading and feeling connected to the lives of these bloggers even though we haven't met in person.

Two, however, got me thinking in the past few days. PBB posts about words. Her last sentence really hit me. "They evaporate before you know it, before you can catch them, domesticate them, make them yours." That's the closest to explaining what my words are doing right now. I somehow can't get them to do anything but swirl and float around my mind and not get any farther along than that.

Songbird writes about the sound of pencil on paper and her journey of blogging and journaling. While I was always more of a pen person myself (as opposed to pencil), some of her words spoke to me particularly. "Had I reached a point of such complete change that writing down my thoughts and especially my feelings would not be part of my life anymore?"

If you read my first post, it's about needing a home for my words, a place to once again write and share. When I think about when I did most of my personal writing, it was when life seemed the toughest...whether it really was or not. Now life is tough in different ways than it was then. And more often than not, those words did not get shared with anyone--even my closest friends.

And I'm coming to realize that I want to blog not just to get my words out of me but because I want the community. I'm a shy, introvert pastor, who sees lots of people every day but have very few friends with whom to make daily or even weekly contact. When I think about posting to this blog, I realize that I think about what responses I might get. And when I think that no one reads my blog (okay--I'm sure people stop by now and then), I lack the motivation to make the words stop swirling; I lack the motivation to try to put my thoughts and feelings into words and sentences. I crave comments and responses and, if I'm honest--affirmation. I want to know that I'm not alone in this crazy world in which we live. I want to know that people care what's going on in my life--even if it's only those things I choose to share.

But I know I can't expect people to stop by if I never write, so maybe I'll try a Lenten discipline--since Lent will so soon be upon us. I'll post more often; I'm not ready to commit to daily. I'll do the RevGal Friday Five each Friday. Hopefully I'll get some visitors and some will keep coming back.

And even if not, maybe I'll find again what is missing right now in me, the joy of putting my thoughts into words simply for my own sake.