Thursday, August 08, 2013

Answers and Questions

The situation that was weighing most heavily on me has been resolved (mostly). I have my answer.

Which leads to a question:
Is God going to make good come out of the answer or did God direct us all to answer the question the way we did because that's what God wanted to happen?

I do go back on forth in answering this question--specifically related to this situation, but also in general. I was really struggling and hurting and praying and discerning and couldn't feel good about the choice I thought I was going to have to make. I trust God to make good things come out of and from any situation, this one included. And I can't believe that God is a puppet who directs us to only do certain things--I believe God gave us free will. And yet--I can't help but feel this was the 'right' answer.

I have my answer--an answer that I'm really completely fine with. I'm relieved even. And yet, there's some psychic weight to this situation--some feelings left unresolved, some concern and care for people involved, a bit of 'what might have been,' and a wish that I hadn't had to walk that road.

Answers--questions. It seems like one always leads to the other. I'm generally okay with ambiguity but right now I'm looking for some clarity, something solid. Something light and free because my heart and mind feel heavy and sluggish. I'm not who I want to be.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Quiet -- Private?

I've been really quiet here lately. Really quiet.

And I have so much swirling in my mind that I'd like to write about. But I can't get past the fear that people I know beyond the internet (who didn't already know I had this blog) will find this space. Because so much of what is going on cannot be public right now.

Chaos seems to abound in my life right now--and I'm exhausted. I'm tired and stressed and stretched to my limits.

I need someplace to let these ideas out. I need a home for my words. I could write and not post I suppose, but with all going on it seems like a waste of time. Unless I know there are others to here--unless I know that there are people who care.

So--if you think you'd like to read more, comment here please. If I get comments, I'll figure out how to password protect and get that info to those of you who comment.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Good Good Friday

As the person planning and leading worship, it's often hard to be a worshiper in said services. I'm so often thinking of what comes next, of worrying if everything is going off without a hitch, of making sure everything happens as planned--or at least in a somewhat smooth manner. Sometimes something really rattles me--like a kid throwing up during the children's sermon on Easter, that kind of thing. But sometimes, sometimes, I really get to worship.

I've had two experiences recently--two times I really, really needed it. One was during our Midweek Lenten services. After a rough week early in Lent with my babies, with hubby we decided it was best if they just didn't come. It wasn't worth the headache for us all to deal with them. They are in church ALL the time--a few Wednesdays away wouldn't hurt. And it was so nice to sing the hymns which were some of my favorite and just let them wash over me.

But even that was nothing like Good Friday. I had planned the service using my denominational worship book for the beginning of the service including a reading from Isaiah and used Erica Schemper's Service of Shadows and Stones for the outline of the rest. (It didn't hurt that "What Wondrous Love is This" is one of my many favorite hymns.)

I had bulletins marked up for the pianist and the ushers for how to gradually dim the lights throughout the service. We had a huge cross draped in black with a crown of thorns centrally located with a light behind it. I had that light on a remote switch that I could turn and off. I thought it would be cool to have it completely dark and then just turn that light on remotely as the cue for the soloist to sing her verse. The lay reader had volunteered--folks just do that here, I didn't specifically invite someone for this service. It happened to be the soloist, a trained opera singer--a performer, and a person of deep faith.

It did turn out so amazingly well. People even listened to the instructions to leave in silence! They aren't known for silence here (and that is an understatement!). On Easter morning, one person told me that it was a really meaningful service and that his 8th grade son left and said, "That was really cool." That's a pretty high compliment from a 14 year old boy!!

But that's not what was so good for me. In the span of 45 minutes, I got to have my worship experience of Holy Week and even Easter. By Good Friday, I was emotionally ready for Easter. I was tired of living in Lent, of thinking of death. I was ready for life. But at the same time, I needed Good Friday and the story of Jesus.

So as I sat in the front row, the reader read from Isaiah and I heard the story of Jesus. I heard the crucifixion; I heard the depths of Jesus' suffering, the depths of God's love. Because of the reader's delivery, it was like I was hearing this all again for the first time. God was speaking through these words. It was the promise of love wrapped in the pain of Good Friday. I forgot that I was leading worship; I was lost in worship.

I was able to lead the rest of the service. I read the final passage, said the final prayer, turned out the light behind the cross and took my seat in the front row. I prayed in the dark and silence (and kept track of time a little bit) and pressed my remote to turn the light on. And let the beautiful voice and beautiful words and wondrous love--in haunting form--wash over me.

And in order to help folks leave in silence, I departed to my office. I waited until everyone was out and planned to sit in the sanctuary just a few moments alone before turning off all the lights and locking the building. So I wouldn't have to go back to my office I grabbed my keys and cell phone (all I had with me) and turned lights off as I went. Sitting in the sanctuary not ten minutes after the service, I got a text. "Great service!!" I smiled--and saw the cross in a new light. New life--love, Easter.

It was a good Good Friday!

Monday, April 01, 2013


Today is hopefully the first day of a new normal, a new normal that we are going to have to figure out. Today is the first day that my baby went to daycare. I've been back at work most of these two years, but she was with my mom. The other 'baby' was in school four mornings a week and with my mom the rest of the time I was at work. My mom was really flexible with strange schedules and evening church events. But for now, that's not an option so we have to figure out this 'new normal' in which I haul my kids to daycare/school each morning, pick up from school and run to daycare, pick up from daycare and try even harder to not have meetings or events at times when my hubby is not home in the evenings. It's been a hodge podge of grandparents, days home/working with kids there, days at work/working with kids there, and friends watching the girls for the last few weeks.

But it is what it is because we have bigger fish to fry. And those fish involve my mom beating cancer. She had major surgery on the 12th of March which turned out even more major than planned and is very weak. She is doing rehab at a nursing home now and we'll meet an oncologist on April 12th to see what comes next. It doesn't seem like she'll be watching the girls again anytime soon. But maybe's too soon to tell for sure.

There are like 14 directions this could go, but for now I'll just say...

It was a long Lent in so many ways. But it's Easter now. And God has the last word; death does not. So whatever happens, it's Easter!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Thank you blog!

My sermon for Wednesday is almost done! Hooray! It will be done before I leave the office today. And it's thanks in part to at least three blog posts. I'm borrowing my own words--or reordering them--or something. I'm not sure why it feels like such a gift of grace, but it is.

Lent is kicking my butt--the writing on the words just had to go. But my energy for writing is slowly coming back. I'm slowly clearing off the crazy piles on my desk and it helps. I cleaned our super icky refrigerator yesterday and it helps. Bringing order helps. Despite the fact that I talked about Sabbath yesterday in worship; about a need to rest. I need that too--but it's figuring out the rhythm of work and Sabbath.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Yes, I'm a day behind...but that gets to the heart of this anyhow. When is settling for less than perfection just settling?

I guess I never expected to be: a perfect pastor, a perfect mother, a perfect wife, a perfect housekeeper, etc. But how come it feels like settling for less than perfection is settling? It feels like I'm not good enough at any of those things and so it doesn't matter that I'm not doing anything. (Which is, of course, not true.) Most days feel like I'm either not coming up for air or I'm just wasting the day.

So I'm not going to settle anymore. I'm going to strive for more (closer to) perfection. At least I'm going to try.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Perhaps this is also a better word for a picture...

Injustice is just such a huge word. It's overwhelming to think about. Perhaps that's why what comes to mind first is Precious/Thing 2 and the beginnings of the terrible 2s. When she cries such huge tears at the injustice of having to do something like have a diaper change or not being allowed to play with a certain thing. But those aren't really injustice...

What should I point out? More than I'm able to even begin to think of today. (Tomorrow's sermon needs to come first!)

Friday, February 15, 2013



‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’
Revelation 21:3b-4

These prompts were designed for pictures, but I'm much more a word person (and don't want to give away my identity so easily on this blog).

Still--why are these the words that came to me with the word "See"?

They are beautiful words, yes. They are a beautiful sentiment, yes. I believe God has the power to wipe the tears from our eyes, yes (and sometimes even does). And I believe God is present with us now--at home among mortals today--even as we await the passing away of the first things.

But really, of all the things, see could point to, this is what came up?

I can't explain it; I guess I needed to hear these words again.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


"Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."

I guess I am a church nerd--and it is Lent if just barely.

But these words are ones that are in me, echoing in me this day.

Not bad words for a busy day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Who am I?

So, a friend posted this on FB and it's designed to be a photo challenge but I'm a rebel, so I decided to attempt to use this as my Lenten discipline. Writing on each of the prompts--as if I don't have enough writing to do. (HA!) But it's also an attempt to contain my on-line time that disappears into the abyss and turn it into something productive.

So today--who am I?

There could be so many answers--especially on this Ash Wednesday, some of which I mention in my sermon for tonight. But somehow, the only one that bubbles to the surface today is mom or more accurately, mama (specifically in Precious'/Thing 2's voice).

When Baby Girl/Thing 1 was small, the law in our state and the recommendation was rear-facing in the car until age 1 and 22 pounds. About a week after her first birthday, I had to travel a long way (6 hours if I recall correctly) with her by myself. In the van, I had her rear-facing carrier seat and her new front-facing seat. I put her rear-facing when I thought and hoped she'd nap and front-facing for the rest so she could see the DVD player. When we got home after that trip, we took out the rear-facing seat. She's been in the other seat since (now using the regular seat belt, not the five point harness) but still.

Now that Precious/Thing 2 is small, the law in our state is still rear-facing until age 1 and 22 pounds, but the recommendation is rear-facing until 2. She's still rear-facing in my car. But in hubby's, we've turned the seat. It's just too hard for the front seat passengers to fit her seat in rear-facing. And, she rarely rides in his car anyhow.

Just a few days ago, I was buckling her in his car and realized that though I complain about getting her in the rear-facing seat (she's getting tall and scrunched, it's so high in my van, etc.), I'm not ready to turn her around. It feels like it will be the last thing that marks the end of her being my baby. Which isn't true of course...I'm my mom's baby as she tells both my girls. baby is growing up. She's solidly toddler. She's independent, oh so independent. She wants to do so much on her own.

AND, she's my baby. She loves her 'babies' (dolls) and any real-life baby. She gets frustrated when she can't take them out of books or photos. We have a number of picture books with Mary holding baby Jesus. And reading them goes something like this. "Where's the baby?" She points. "Yes, that's baby Jesus. Where's his mama?" She points to Mary. "Where's your mama?" She taps her index finger on my chest. "Where's my baby?" She taps her index finger on her chest. "Are you my baby?" She nods solemnly, slowly, deliberately and snuggles into me with a smile.

Yes, she is my baby and I'm her mama.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

How Can I Be Sad?

I recently started following a page on fb--the page of the milk bank where I donated. I think I have to un-follow.

Every post I see makes me sad. Sad that I didn't do more. Sad that I didn't keep pumping longer--for them. I think I'm past sadness that Precious/Thing 2 never got to nurse again after surgery. She makes me too happy to be sad about that. I'm okay with how long she got breastmilk.

The timing made sense for stopping. It was a gradual wean from the pump and I had no problems.

But I'm good at making milk. Even if I had taken that week away from the pump when I was at the youth gathering, I could have resumed pumping as I still had some milk for quite some time.

Why does it make me so sad that I only contributed 285 ounces. It's such a small drop in the bucket for babies who need it. I could have done so much more.

And I'm sad.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Chocolate Fail

We are hosting an event at our house on Saturday--a group that rotates once a month. We've been doing theme nights--Mexican, Italian, etc. I had this 'brilliant' idea to try a chocolate theme (in honor of Valentine's Day and also a last weekend before Lent thing).

As the hosts, we provide 'main course' food. So, I found some recipes and experimented...

1. Cocoa enhanced sloppy joes -- I managed to eat mine and thought it was okay. Hubby ate his even though he didn't like it at all. Thing 1 (formerly known as Baby Girl who is not so much baby--pushing 5--how did that happen!?!) ate one bite and spit it out. Thing 2 (aka Precious, my baby who is staunchly toddler more than baby, closer to 2 than 1, already had some temper tantrums worthy of the terrible twos, talk about wondering how quickly we got here!)ate hers--she will eat ANYTHING! I froze the rest and planned to serve them anyhow--but accidentally thawed them on the counter for days, so no. In my defense, they were in the same kind of non-see-through container that I also had cookies frozen in and I thought I was taking those out of the freezer!

2. Cocoa curry chicken rub--again, okay. Not good. Don't think so.

3. Chocolate nut pasta--which I didn't really read the recipe for when I started it. I didn't expect dessert until I got to 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar!! It was a pain to make and the worst part was/is that it really doesn't taste good. Bummer.

4. Have a recipe for chicken mole--I'm going to make it and hope for the best!! Well, I plan to make it Thursday night or Friday and if it's horrible, one of the Mexican restaurants here has got to have it on the menu.

Oh well, it was fun trying new things. But--next time it's our turn to host, hubby will have to pick the theme.

Thursday, January 31, 2013


I haven't forgotten my word assignment. And I'm writing--or rather, thinking about writing--because I need to be. Soon!

I think I've gotten in over my head with Lent starting so soon. I have a week to crank out the rest of this week's sermon, next week's sermon, plus a Lenten 'guidebook' for lack of a better term. Such great ideas I had...UGH!

Then Lent will be upon us, with two sermons per week. I might never blog again. But I can't stand a month not appearing in archives--how crazy is that?

So, instead of this week's sermon, I'm writing here for just a few minutes. Sigh...

And the things I'm thinking, I just can't seem to put down. I'm anonymous here, "Silent," but too afraid to put some things out here. I try to be careful because anyone who might happen upon this who knows me in real life would identify me in a heartbeat. And there are a few real life friends who read this too--though those people in particular are not ones I'd mind knowing these things, but I can't help but think, "what if?"

Maybe it's time to let the blog go--but then I'm not sure I'll write what I don't have to write. Or maybe, I need to let the worry of anonymity go and write about different things.

Guess that's for later. Instead, the sermon beckons.