Friday, August 31, 2007

Pear Tree

If you look at my personality profile, I ranked really high as a Naturalist. I wasn't so sure about it but I have this pear tree in the back yard (I'll post a pic later). Its pears aren't really good for eating unless you cook them first. I only pick a few to feed to the horse next door. The rest fall off and make great balls for the dogs to chase but the thing that is really great is; forget butterfly bushes, plant a pear tree. They are swirling all over this tree and especially on the fallen fruit. The more it ferments the more they seem to like it. It looks like something you see on the Discovery Channel.

As you can tell from the tenor of my previous posts, I have been a little pissed off lately. I lost all of the naive feelings towards many of my churchmembers. We are becoming a family, which is good but like all growth can be painful too. I have been here for almost four years which for a Methodist Pastor is pretty long. I was supposed to move in June but I self-delayed my commissioning. I think that in the long run it has been a good thing but it really hurt at the time. It has allowed me the time to get my D.Min. started and to really grow into being a pastor without the destractions of seminary. I have made changes at the church that were long overdue and we are starting to really get involved in community outreach. The focus is changing from as "Rev Magazine" put it, "A cloistered church to a Missional Church." It took me staying to accomplish that. They would have had to go through the entire process of trusting a new pastor to make those changes.

It wasn't very easy though. In fact, I really got beat up. I was accused of making changes because it would help my "career". I was told that "we aren't growing because of your sermons" and "we really need a male pastor to grow". I worked for a church long before I became a pastor so I knew how rough it could be but before I always had the backing of the senior (and mostly male) pastors. They really helped deflect some of the harsh comments away.

Anyway, I am letting all of that go (except for the self-knowledge). I am moving past all of this hurt. I have really been immersing myself in Henri Nouwen and other writers. I have even quit reading all the escapist novels that were occupying my free time. (Remember: I have lots of free time because I am an insomniac.)

The one thing that I am having trouble with is the lack of friends. I really had some good friends at seminary and now I am very alone out here in the boonies. I am with an accountability group, I was with an excellent one but the pastor that held it together moved. It's just not the same. I have one really good friend but she is a member of the church. Which really wasn't an issue until all of my mentors, seminars, etc. said that it wasn't appropriate because I can't unload any of my negative feelings about church members on this woman because she is a church member. We would be friends even if we weren't in the same church but I understand where the leadership is coming from but it did make it a little more lonely out here. Part of the problem is that I live so far from anywhere.

Anyway, I have this blog and it is really helping me recognize when I am being negative (because it is all right there in front of me - and everyone else). What is interesting is that for every really negative person that made my life miserable, many more stepped up and went from treating church like a spectator sport to actually becoming involved. So I am hopeful. And I am see that even from things like fermenting pears on the ground

Commentary on BitchPhd's Post

I really sympathize with not being able to buy your own house. I am definitely jealous that she doesn't have any student loan bills, credit card bills, etc. Just think of all the headache you are saving yourself not having to pay for all the things that go wrong. Damn.... you can tell the lack of a/c is really pissing me off. Everyone should read Tex Samples book over "Blue Collar Ministry". It has some very interesting statistics.

They came to take out the old unit and clean the air ducts. They messed up the air duct vacuum so that didn't happen. They quit at NOON and won't be back until Tuesday because of Labor Day.

On the plus side, I remembered my parents anniversary and was able to drop off a cute gift. It was cut flowers put in the lid of a candle, so after the flowers are long gone the candle will live on. Plus the name of the scent is "Santa Fe" which is near where I grew up.

I have to clean up and take Ryss to town and not the little close town but the big town almost one hour away. She has to have shoes for her new sport - Cross Country. Of course, it will cost me money. Everything costs me money.

RevGal Pals


1. Share a highlight from this summer.
Getting admitted into the D.Min. Program. Sounds very boring but this has been a terrible summer. I am looking forward to it being SO over.
2. Are you glad to see this summer end? Why or why not?
See above. Not looking forward to all of the football games.
3. Name one or two things you’re looking forward to this fall.
Cooler weather
4. Do you have any special preparations or activities to mark the transition from one season to another? (Cleaning of house, putting away summer clothes, one last trip to the beach)
Nope and especially not cleaning the house.
5. I’ll know that fall is really here when...
You don't have to use the A/C. I hope that happens before October. Of course, it will have to be up and running before that.

What's with the Rain

This has been the rainiest month of August that I have every experienced - what's the deal?? We visited Ryss's BFF again last night to help her with her homework and for Ryssa to cry with her over missing school. Apparently there is a boy involved and he might replace her over missing two days, they are so funny.

They A/C guys are here today, taking out the old unit and cleaning the ducts. However, because of the three day week-end they will not be back to install the new unit until Tuesday. Don't even ask me how I feel about this. It's not very nice.

I took a picture of the rain. This is a picture of the backyard.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


We were hit last night with some pretty loud thunderstorms. Of course, it waited until right before Bible Study was supposed to start. I thought, "Oh great, no one will show up". I've been working on the notion that Christians really won't melt in the rain (only witches in old movies do). I was pleasantly surprised that I had a full group. We actually went over because they were really into the discussion.

Ryss called though and hurried me up. Her BFF since 3rd grade had been kicked by a horse and was hurt pretty bad. We went over there (after stopping to buy her sympathy ice cream). The horse kicked her in the left knee. I have had bad knee's since I was a kid. They used to swell to the size of a cantaloupe. I hadn't seen anything like this. This kid's knee was huge, red, purple and didn't look quite straight. But this is a typical ranch, country kind of family. So they didn't want to rush to the emergency room and wait for hours just to be told go home until the swelling goes down and make an appointment with an orthopedic doc in the morning. Not the decision I would have made because of the off chance that she needed emergency surgery. I wonder how much the fact they don't have insurance contributed to their decision?? Don't EVEN get me started on that topic!!

The rain put a bit of a damper on my walk program this morning. The field gets huge water puddles, not an issue for me but the dogs come home absolutely filthy. Now you might say, "Why Dulce, you don't have to take the dogs with you." I would reply, "Yes, I do. They sulk all day if I walk without them." Plus, I slept or didn't sleep last night very good at all. I am trying to cut back on using Ambien to help me sleep. I have battled insomnia since I was very young. I can't afford to buy Ambien to help me every single night, it doesn't seem very healthy to take every night, I waited too late to take it anyway so I wouldn't have woke up in time to take child to her cross country practice. So I came home after dropping her off and went back to bed. I blame my poor sleep on watching Jay Leno last night. Jeff Foxworthy was on and I wanted to watch him but it was the little girl that followed Jeff F. that was hilarious and got me laughing so hard that it must have given me an adrenalin boost.

Good news - football game scheduled tonight has been cancelled. YEAH!! Temporary reprieve. Of course, tonight would have been one of the coolest nights to watch a football game in months. Figures. :(

The 3rd a/c guy finally showed up yesterday to give a quote on replacing the system. He lied about showing up the day before, saying "You must have already left". Liar, Liar, pants on fire. I stayed home the ENTIRE day waiting for him. Doesn't bode well for him getting the job. Of course, he came in with the lowest bid, Damn the luck.

My question is, "Why does waiting for a repair person of any kind, make you want to leave with such a powerful intensity?" I had nowhere in particular I needed to be, I had no money, I had no visits to make, the church office is at the parsonage so I worked on church business all day BUT I wanted to leave so bad just because I couldn't. God, you have truly made a peculiar people.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Because of all the rain in the Spring and early Summer, my zinnia's are HUGE. Some are as tall as I am (5'6"). I'm not really a gardening kind of person but I like zinnia's but not weeding. You can see my neighbor's house. It is built entirely from railroad ties. He is a great neighbor. Very old but if he see's you are having trouble with something he comes right over to help. I remember when Maryssa was riding her horse (who recently died). She fell out in the field, in front of the house, he came right over to check on her. He really is sweet on the inside, covered by a grumpy, old man on the outside.

Crape Myrtle

This is the biggest Crape Myrtle that I have every seen and it is in my front yard. The yellow flowers are Lantana. I am living proof that lantana is idiot proof. It is my kind of tough, drought resistant bush. Plus, the butterflies love it. I have a very peaceful, bucolic view from my front porch. Of course, it is usually too hot or the mosquito's will carry you off but it is very beautiful. Lily (the border collie) thinks so too. Gus, the daschund (sp?), doesn't get to see very much of the view. He can't usually see over the grass. He reminds me of me sometimes; he likes to eat too much, take long naps and sometimes can't see over the horizon because of the weeds.

I thought that you might like to see the view.


So Ryss got off of the school bus yesterday with a new plan for Athletics. She was not able to be a member of the volleyball team because of her "meanie" of a mother. I tried to explain that it was impossible to do both volleyball and karate and cheerleading and band and horse club. So anyway, now she is running cross-country because they meet in the morning and not the afternoon. You've got to hand it to the girl she is good, really, really good. I had no argument with her logic. Of course, this meant that I had to get up and get her to the school at 6:45 this morning. But it did get me motivated to start my walking program again. So I loaded up all the dogs, dropped off the kid and we went walking until 7:30. The puppies are ecstatic - they love to run around the field surrounding the walking track.

Revival Update = we had a huge night last night. Usually in my experience, the first night is the most well attended and then it tapers off until by the final night there isn't anyone present at all. We kept a really even attendance all the way through and last night we had a great band. Like I said previously, I am so letting the laity plan this stuff from now on.

The best thing about last night is that T came to the service. He is the boy shot in a drive-by shooting. He will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. It was a true tragedy since he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The shooter's didn't even know who he was. Not that all of these acts of violence aren't all tragedies, I continue to be amazed at how cruel we can be to our fellow humans not to mention the animals.

As you can tell, I am a dog lover. In our house is a true menagerie; 3 dogs, 2 cats, 1 fish and 1 snake. Outside at various moments of my daughters 4-H career; horse, goats, lamb, rabbits. And before they made the fatal mistake of escaping in a house full of predators - 2 pygmy hamsters. (They did make the snake a fine, fine meal)

A/C Update: The church now has multiple quotes and are planning on replacing the a/c in the parsonage. I hope that it is really soon. The window units are keeping the house fairly comfortable. However, they are not filtering out all of the high levels of mold floating around in the great outdoors. I am unable to take a breath. Obviously my allergy meds will work for limited exposure - going outside for a walk, running from the truck to the church, going into Wal-Mart. However, 24 hours a day is too much.

I finished that very slow D.Min. book finally. I am down to the final two required reads before the Seminar. One is only 70 pages long and the other looks more technical on actually writing the final paper and completing the D.Min. Project. All of the financial aid paperwork has been submitted, so now it is just a waiting game. I have been in school so long, I believe I am addicted to that first day of school excitement.

Bible Study tonight is going to be over the various names of God. What are your favorites? I like Adonai, just for the way that slides off of my tongue. El Shaddai for God Almighty or God of the Mountaintop.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Window Units

Some of my more compassionate church members dropped off window units to help take the hellish edge off the heat in the parsonage. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. I had forgotten exactly how loud they are. Ryss and I were watching the movie "RV" with Robin Williams in my bedroom and I apparently had about four visitors who actually came into the parsonage. We never heard them. Glad that they were all friendly visitors. What is especially disturbing is that the three dogs didn't hear them either. Of course, they were all laying right under the cold air coming from the window unit. Guard dogs, my ass!!

One of my good friend church members (as opposed to those that I love but don't really like" called very concerned. She had overheard a conversation at the Revival. A woman is thinking about joining our church. Apparently she is one of those people who joins an organization and then proceeds to destroy it before moving on to greener pastures. She wanted to warn me. Warn me, Warn me - how do you answer than????? I told her that I would extensively counsel with anyone wanted to join the church. I'm not really sure what she wanted to hear from me. Any of you have any suggestions?

Met a man last night at the Revival. I welcomed him to the church. He said, "I used to come to this church all the time." I told him, "Well, I'm very glad that you are here tonight." I absolutely refused to ask him why he left. Apparently, he and his wife are now raising their 11-year old grandson. Which we all know is happening all around us. Maybe he is thinking about coming back to the church.

One of my other people (who hasn't really joined yet but is a refugee from a nearby Methodist Church) let me know that the "other church" had voted down a proposal to relocate. He said that they "even let 9 and 10 year old children vote trying to get it passed, but they lost anyway." I asked him if he had attended but he had not. It is hard being neutral and not saying something kind of rude. If you really know me well, you know that being neutral is really, really hard for me. The "other church" is especially glad that this man is visiting me now and has told me so.

I have really fallen off on my D.Min. reading schedule. This last book has really been hard to get through. Not that it is hard but it is not as exciting to read as the others. So I will quit blogging and try to finish it. I only have it and two others and then I am finished with my preparatory reading for the seminar next month.

I know all the reasons why we quit using real wine in the Eucharist but I am positing my claim - we quit because all the pastors were getting drunk after services because of the irritating shit that their people said to them.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Two Down, One to Go

Two nights of Revival have been put to bed. Both have went better than expected. "Oh ye of little faith". It was very worthwhile leaving it all in the hands of the laity. They have not fumbled the ball. Attendance was down by 50% but that was expected. Today was the first day of school. Exhausted, will blog tomorrow.

School Started Today

I am soooo glad that this week-end is over. Not only was it hot but with the a/c out it was miserable. I put out a church-wide appeal during the announcement period prior to worship and two saints showed up with window units to help take the edge of the extreme heat. I was hooking one of them up and thought I should make sure it worked before I put it in the window. HINT: don't stand over the unit when first turning it on. It blew all kinds of crap into my face. My sinuses swelled shut almost immediately. My throat is sore from the drainage. Don't know what I inhaled but obviously I was allergic to it.

The first night of the Revival went very well. We had a lot of participation from the neighboring churches. I'm not sure that Revivals can be considered part of evangelism like it was in the past. It was great though to sit on the back row and just listen to a sermon. I don't get that opportunity very often.

Finally heard from LM my seminary friend. I was beginning to believe that she had dropped off the face of the earth but she has been "Found". It is hard to keep up with old friends. I have only managed to stay in touch with two of my undergraduate friends and none of my high school. LM, PM, KM are my best friends from seminary, unfortunately, they are also in different Annual Conferences. That means that we are going to have to be very intentional about maintaining our friendships. Isn't it funny but all of them have last names that start with "M". I just noticed that.

The wheelchair ramp is coming along. I have quit putting out appeals for laborers and have started appealing for money. The lumber prices are astronomical. $10/board. Man!, it is like grown gold.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

From Frying Pan into the Fire

Can't post for long - why you ask? Because it is August, which in Texas means hot, hot, hot. And because the a/c never goes out in December always in August. I am sweltering. It is so bad that my friends offer to stay in their horse trailer actually sounds inviting. Of course, the a/c in the horse trailer is actually working.

Did watch Talledaga Nights? If you are from the South, you can really appreciate the humor of this movie. Thank ya Baby Jesus, Sweet 8 lb 6 oz Babyyy Jesus.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sabbath or Not??

So today is the day that I really try to take off from the church, but we got up this morning and started building a deck and wheelchair ramp. It is for the grandson of one of the church members. He was shot and paralyzed in a drive-by shooting. He is only eighteen. We didn't get it finished but we did get the deck all screwed down. Now the upper deck and wheelchair ramp need to be built. The designer had to work today so he is coming tomorrow to work on it.

However, tomorrow I will be at the 5th Annual Prayer Walk for our school. We pray over all of the kids, faculty, admin, etc. by name Then we walk around all the different school buildings, athletic fields and pray for the people. It is kind of cool. In the afternoon, I am visiting my home church. They are having a big fair-like block party. I'm going because Jesse my mentor pastor is going to be in the dunking booth. Can't resist!! :)

Tonight is the first scrimmage game of the season for the football team. Last year they hired a new Athletic Director and actually won some of their games. Which is a kind of quasi-miracle because it had been over 7 years since they had won any game. I don't think that Cheerleader girl has to cheer tonight though. So I probably won't stay long, IT IS MY DAY OFF AFTER ALL.

I was taking a nap, had been asleep for about 20 minutes when I heard the death sentence for the guy in Florida who kidnapped Jessica Lundsford. It was a shocking way to wake up from a relaxing nap. Teach me to sleep with it on CNN. I know that the death sentence really doesn't help the crime problem. I know that the Bible says not to murder. But somewhere down in my admittedly primitive soul, I can't feel sorry for the guy. What does that say about me and my spiritual journey. It is obvious that I have a lot more to do as I "go on to perfection". I don't have a lot of problems theorizing about it but when I bring it down to a personal level and think of how I would react. It becomes a lot harder to think that this guy was evil. Pray for me.

One of the people who is signed up to mow the church called and can't. We are having our big revival so it looks like I will be mowing. I kind of like mowing. I strap on my IPOD and start mowing. Of course, it would be nice if it wasn't a zillion degrees outside. Texas in August is hot, hot, hot. At least, we aren't flooding anymore, like the Midwest. I am a little worried about my best friend from undergraduate school. She moved up there. Hey if you are reading this give me a call, SL.

I have a blister on my thumb and my hands are aching from holding the drill. Good thing that my sermon is finished. I am preaching over "we are all ministers". Sometimes I feel that the ones who need to really hear and apply the message, don't get it at all. Not that I am preaching to just that particular audience but it does make you wonder. How someone can go to church every single Sunday, actually stay awake during the sermon but never, never seem to apply any of the biblical principles to their life. I question my own effectiveness sometimes but then I talk to TJr today or GR both young men (19 & 23) and really see the difference that I can make. One of them drives home from college on a regular basis and comes to church because he likes my sermons. Cool huh??? It makes up for the mean lady who says that "We don't have more new people because she used illustrations from that new-fangled internet. I don't even know what that is. We need to hear old-fashioned exegetical sermons." (Sigh) Maybe I should throw in a few "You are all going to hell" and beat on the pulpit a little bit. hmmmm...... Maybe not.

Well, I'm going to surf some of my favorite blog sites. Talk to you later.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Hair Color

So lately I've noticed that I am getting gray hair, not a surprise I suppose I did just turn 43. I probably have been getting gray hair since I was 25 but I haven't seen my natural hair color since 16. So today I put blond streaks in it, I let munchkin help. Maybe not the best idea because I have some serious Blonde streaks now. But you really don't notice the gray at all :)

I've been reading over some of my previous posts and realized that it really doesn't look as if I do any ministry at all. Things haven't been that great at the church ever since I moved some pews around. But now that we have totally renovated the sanctuary I'm hoping that things will get back to normal. So anyway, when I blog I really haven't been talking alot about my ministry. I really do keep busy but now I have a way to let off some steam.

I have been doing my D.Min. reading and right now I am reading "Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation" by Robert Mulholland. I a up to the classic spiritual disciplines. Of course, I studied all of these in my wonderful Spiritual Formation class at Perkins. I am a member of the Order of Saint Luke so praying the Daily Offices helps keep me focused (most of the time).

He does have this great paragraph - talking about us doing a spiritual discipline for a while and then stopping - kind of like yo-yo dieting (something that I am very familiar with). "This is not a spiritual discipline. If you have had that roller coaster experience - trying to maintain the discipline, falling off, starting it again and falling off, starting it again and falling off - it may be because you've not been offering God a genuine discipline. You may have been trying a do-it-yourself operation, a form of works righteousness."

As an experienced you-yo dieter, all I can say is "OUCH".

Cheer Pictures

Today Ryss had cheer pictures. We get to the school 30 minutes early but no one ever shows up. About 9:40 one of the coaches comes by and says "Oh its in town". Why, Oh Why, didn't anyone think to call us. It was a real mess. We did make it and she is now officially cataloged, stamped and officially recognized as a cheerleader but it made my blood pressure skyrocket.

So tell me, I have two things I'm supposed to attend tonight; Women's Club and Band Boosters. Which one do I attend because they are at exactly the same time. Who gets the benefit of my wisdom, grace and kindness tonight. Maybe I'll just tell each one that I am at the other one and stay home. Hmmm.................

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Okay, just back from Bible Study. Only one person showed up except for my daughter, so really two people came. I am so bummed out. I had several phone calls from people giving really good excuses for why they couldn't be there tonight. They are so inward focused that they can't see. Maybe, I'm the one that can't see. God help me see.

I was talking to my District Superintendent this week and this church has some hard decisions to make in the soon-to-be future. 1) They can figure out a way to raise an extra $10,0oo a year (not going to happen), 2) they can go to part-time status and let another local church have their parsonage, 3) they can merge with the other church. I believe that choice number three is their only good alternative. God help me see.

Now I need some help with my attitude. I am so pissed off. They want a full-service church but only if someone else does it all INCLUDING actually attend. We had such a good turn-out last Saturday for the church clean-up. I thought maybe we had turned a corner. I guess we have begun turning a corner but it is going to be a long slow turn. God help me see.

Pray for me.

Mean, Mean Minister

So I'm back from touring the Chocolate Factor and I learned from the kids that pastors are not ever supposed to be mean. Damn, that was news to me. I really wasn't mean but there is a bully of a boy in the 4-H group. He was picking on some of the little kids, well he is always picking on the kids. He said something about not wanting girls to High-Five him. I happened to be standing there and I said (very innocently), "That will change when you go through puberty!"

All of the guys standing there broke out laughing and giving me High-Five's, he got mad since he is starting 8th grade this fall. He thinks he is a man. See I always have those kinds of comments running through my head but it is very seldom that I let them loose in public anymore. And I feel stifled, suffocated, smothered.

On the plus, side I got to buy chocolate. So I'm feeling really happy. It will make preparing for tonights Bible Study lesson much more enjoyable. I have went back to my original format that really had alot of people coming. I don't care what the head of the admin council wants. The people voted with their feet and they didn't like what she wanted. Now if I can just get them back.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Planning Stages

I told you before that my church has a Revival this week-end. Well, lest you believe that I have spent my entire day harrassing the School Counselor, I have also been planning the Revival or at least quasi-planning. I did do the Flyers for people to put out. I know I said that the laity were responsible for this years revival. However, most of them couldn't turn on the computer much less make up a Flyer. So I did break down and do that. I, also, did some of the musical preparation.

I'm thinking that we will not have an order of worship for the revival!! I know, revolutionary thoughts going on in this brain of mine.

Better yet, tomorrow, I am helping take a group of 4-H students on a tour of a local factory. Sounds dull, doesn't it? Did I mention that it is a CHOCOLATE FACTORY???!!!??? Yep, I am spending all morning in a chocolate factory. Spending time with the community never looked so good.

Do you remember that episode of the "Vicar of Dibley" where there is a chocolate fountain celebrating the vicar's birthday? Well, tomorrow that might be me. I wonder if I should wear my clerical collar?


So we get up this morning, load for bear, head to the school. Munchkin was supposed to test out of the 7th grade in June but the school counselor is a bit incompetent. So we head up there to at least try and get her a more difficult schedule. She will be in trouble all the time with the easy schedule they had her down for. I'm all ready to do battle.

We get there and wait around for 30 minutes. Did I mention that this lady has the habit of sneaking out the back way. Anyway, I get around the Dragon lady guarding the incompetent lady. Lo and behold, the tests are sitting right there on her desk. "She was too busy to call me".

Anyway, the child is up there right now taking the science and history portions of the TAKS test. She took all of the others at the end of last year. Child didn't know they would be there and was not expecting to take a TAKS test this morning. It really just struck me as very funny. You should have seen the look on her face.

Now school starts in five days. But the counselor says that if the tests show she should be moved up, then they will do it even if school has already started. This woman does not inspire confidence in me.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Met with the District BOM today. Everything went well. Now I just have to pray that everything goes well with my Triad and the Conference BOM. Keep me in your prayers about that.

I finished another of my required reads today, "Windows of the Soul" by Ken Gire. It was an interesting book. Not a lot of new information but at least it lets you know that you can meet God in all sorts of ways without feeling guilty.

Learned how to set up a MYSpace account from my 12 year old. Don't know how much I will use it. We will see. I am slowly moving into the 21st century. Before long I can preach, teach and counsel without ever leaving my house. Cyber-ministry here I come.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ice Cream Social

Well, no one said anything very negative today at all. I did get a little negative feedback when I informed them that the Revival next week-end is going to be entirely led by laity, planned by laity, etc. etc. ect. One lady said, WHY?? I told her because having me do everything makes it my event and not the church's. I was expecting a lot of pushback but they have taken it a ran. Amazing, isn't it? Now we are even having a Hot Dog Dinner prior to the start.

I have canceled the Monday Bible Study. All of the women it was aimed at getting involved are too busy in the middle of the day. Plus, it was making the same people come twice a week. Don't get me wrong there was no problem with that but the exegetical format had driven away most of the people. Remember I talked about that in an earlier post? I'm hoping to generate all of the interest that I had going before I folded to the established power base.

The Ice Cream Social went well this evening. And then I came home and snuggled in my double-sized recliner with the munchkin and we watched a movie.

Tomorrow I go before the District Board of Ordained Ministry to be recommended for commissioning. The chair of the board said that it really isn't necessary and that they will not vote on it again since I was recommended last year but then self-delayed. (still pissed about that) This is just a reaffirmation of their love and support. Gotta love your DBOM chair when she is madder about my circumstances than I am anymore. She said that the person who screwed me up last year is a very unhappy person. Apparently she sat next to this person at a meeting and she said she looked really stressed. Hmmm... wonder why?


I am sooo sore. Yesterday we had a church clean-up day and it was really cleaned up. We cleared brush, cleaned out an old storage shed and a couple of rooms in the church. We hauled a trailer load of junk off. Which makes me realize that the church is full of depression-era children. They never throw anything away. I told the ones that couldn't handle that not to even show up. And we threw it away. They were amazed at how much room the church has!! Duh!!

We even used one of those BobCats and cleared stuff away outside. Plus, dug a ditch and moved the septic tank lines. But now for the downside. I don't think I can move today much less lead worship. I hurt all over and it's not a good kind of hurt.

I will get back to you and let you know how it goes today. I need your prayers though because when I am really sore and tired I don't guard my tongue as well as I should. And if one of the people who didn't show up says something negative, I'm am liable to say something.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Week-end after next is our Revival. Now one of our members who is the chair of the Admin Council, wanted it for that particular week-end, she picked the pastor who will preach (which is Okay because he IS a great guy). I told her that was fine but that she needed to be in charge of the organization. I was not going to do it. Why? because for a couple of reasons. One is equipping the people, if I do all the work than they have no ownership of the project. Another, is that a few of us said that was not going to be a good week-end. It is the first day of school for our community but as usual she didn't listen.

So I called her today and asked if she had put an ad in the paper. No she hadn't even thought about it. She was too busy. A Revival does not spread the word of God to the unchurched. It does not fulfill the Great Commission. It is a chance for churchy folk to get around and visit the neighboring churches. Has she called and arranged for the music? Tried to get something into place. Once again, NO. She is too busy. Did she even come to our CPR training last night? NO but she was at home but she was too busy.

So it does seem kind of bitchy that I don't put all of my effort into this particular event. I am tired of jumping through all of this particular woman's hoops. She was an obstacle to our sanctuary renovation. She held an illegal meeting to delay our Kidz Day Out ministry (while I was at Annual Conference and never notified about the meeting). She is upset because she is losing her power in the church because of new people taking stands, taking leadership roles.

All of my energy right now is going into our new Kidz Day Out ministry. It has real potential. It is a real need in our community. It is reaching out to the unchurched.

I finished Robert Clinton's book yesterday. I really liked it. Today, I am reading "The Kingdom Focused Church" by Gene Mims. It has a really good message. I am trying to overcome his Baptist training, which is an obstacle to me seeing the message he is trying to impart. The male-orientated language is a barrier. So is the implicit understanding that all pastor's are men.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I read "Leadership is an Art" by Max Depree yesterday. It had to be one of the easiest books that I have read in forever. It had some general kinds of leadership tips but nothing that was particularly helpful in my context, being as how I don't have any employee's or stock options.

Today I am reading one that is totally different, much more like the books that I read in seminary. "The Making of a Leader" by Robert Clinton. I have been reading most of the morning and have only read 99 pages. Much more dense, much more complicated, much more useful.

Tonight is our CPR course. The first step in realizing our Mother's Day Out Program mission. Well, not the first step. The first step was overcoming all of the opposition to the program. It was going to start in June and now it won't start until September. I have learned a valuable lesson in how to delay a program without seeming to be an obstacle. I will remember this if I ever want to stand in the way of a mission program. However, with some key support and a strong vision for the need that this will fill, it is going forward.

This has been one of my busiest months since leaving seminary and even when I was in school. We are in training for the Mother's Day Out program, have a church work day planned for Saturday, a fund-raiser to help a boy recently paralyzed, a revival. That is all happening in August.

I think that in September I will take a Sunday off even if I just stay at home. I will be starting my D.Min. program at the end of September so if I don't do it now I will never do it. I'm sure that Charge Conferences will be coming soon, also.

I worry that I am filling my day with busy work and will not ever get in a good habit of prayer and Bible Study. I am using this blog as a way to journal. So not all spiritual disciplines have fallen by the wayside. I do miss my friends. Everyone is so busy that I feel that I am all alone out in the hinterland.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What A Difference a Year Makes!

Last year (before I proposed changes to the sanctuary) all of the women on my Nominations Committee were just sweet old ladies. Now as I leave to go to my Annual Nominations Meeting almost ALL of them are making my life miserable. I'm rotating two of the very worst ones off this year and replacing them with some fresh faces. Slowly but surely we are getting new people in the church and can erode some of the power that these women believe belongs to them.

How does the pastor get spiritually fed?

Monday, August 13, 2007

John Maxwell

I read "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" today by John Maxwell. It has made me more comfortable with some of the hard decisions that my church is going to have to make in the future. One of the best things is that all of the great leaders that he talked about in his book first failed. And leaders are developed over time, few are born great leaders.

I look at the people that I have surrounded myself with over the last few years and it comforts me because I have got some outstanding friends that are very successful.

Predetermine a Course of Action
Lay out your goals
Adjust Your Priorities
Notify key personnel

Allow time for acceptance
Head into action
Expect Problems
Always Point to the successes
Daily Review your plan.


Sounds good, better get to work.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Oh, U2 you sure have it right, Sunday can be very bloody. Every month we have the worship service led by the children. It works well, we have the children that can read to the reading parts and children that cannot read do non-reading parts. Makes sense, right? Except when a mother promises her child (who can't read) a reading part. And then, gets mad when they are told they can't do it. It makes you want to just pull out your hair.

When I worked in the pharmaceutical industry, customers didn't tell us how to make vaccines. They might want it labeled with private labels, they might want weird shipping arrangements but they didn't tell us how to make the product. But in a worship service, people want to tell you how to do things ALL THE TIME.

Now has this woman EVER actually helped coordinate or EVEN actually done a part of the service?? NO!! So does she understand the kind of coordination, NO. It was very frustrating.

And on top of it all, my daughter led all the music, used all contemporary music, and sang a solo but left the sanctuary crying after her solo. Because she thought I gave her an upset look. I wasn't looking at her. I was dying of heat exhaustion because it was so bloody hot in my robes.

On the bright side, I finished my second D.Min. required reading. This one was much better than the 1st. It was a totally secular book by Joel Arthur Barker "Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future". It had to be one of the easiest reads in a long time but it was interesting too. It made me see some of the shifting paradigms that make merging my church with the neighboring community seem much more necessary. Of course, it will make my life much, much harder.

Those women that got so mad over the moving of the pews, one of which was the mother of the non-reading child mentioned above, make going to church hard.

My daughter did say that when I told everyone how upset I was over the low Bible Study attendence "It was embarrassing". I made a rookie mistake. I had a great Bible Study going. Attracting new people, had to bring in more chairs, and then one of the above mentioned ladies who also chairs the Admin Council decided that I needed to more exegetical Bible Study. And now no one is coming. Not even the Admin Chair. I changed something to make the old guard happy. I beginning to believe that it was unintentional sabatage. Or maybe not. I'm feeling pretty stupid today.

I think that part of my problem is that I haven't had a Sunday off in over a year except for one where I was driving to Annual Conference. I can't afford to take a trip. I want to take a Sunday off and stay in bed, my own bed, but my parsonage is next to the church. Can I really get away with it??

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Just spent six hours sitting in bleachers, watching my child compete and a Karate competition. She did great but didn't win. She lost by one point. Took a kick right to the chest. Ouch!! This was a much bigger competition than we had counted on. People were there from around the state. I was proud of her especially since this was her very first competition. I was really glad that they didn't give out trophies to everyone, well at least to the kid's over the age of 11. You can't win at everything, every single time.

Finished a book I got for my birthday, "The Know-It-All" by A.J. Jacobs. It was a very funny, true story about a guy who goes on a one year quest to read the entire encyclopedia. I have a couple of interesting entries for you:

1. Hollywood: This was founded by a man named Horace Wilcox, "a prohibitionist who envisioned it a community based on his sober religious principles." Hmmm, didn't work out too well for him.

2. Las Vegas: "Mormons were the first settlers. Not sure Joseph Smith would approve of today's topless showgirls and liquor. Though He would like the volcano at the Mirage. Everybody likes the volcano."

My thought for the day comes from the same book -- Horace Mann, "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

GOOD NEWS!!! Got my letter of acceptance for my D.Min. Program today. So I guess I will start reading my second book. Thank goodness, that's all that has arrived, because I read a fiction novel set in the time period of the Thirty-War's and all of the upheaval in Germany and Holland. And the heroine died!!! So did the hero! I couldn't believe it. It really bummed me out. I read fiction for escape not being bummed out.

Rys has left to babysit again so I'm sitting home alone. It would really bother me except for the fact that after sitting for six hours surrounded by 100's of people it is really nice.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Today, I read my first required reading for my D.Min. and it was by George Barna. I was reading along and getting more and more disturbed by all the male references to God. Now, don't get me wrong, I will even occasionally use a male pronoun to refer to God but this was every sentence. And it was distracting.

But then, something even worse happened, around page 80 Barna talks about pastors but he refers to them as men. And does it a couple of times, so it seems that ONLY men can possibly be pastors. I am disturbed that this was the first book for my D.Min.

Granted, it was only the first book because it was the one that Amazon got to me first. So it was the first by virtue of the postal service. I just hope that all of the readings are quite so sexist. I am trying to give Barna a break because it was written in 1984. But really, I was serving in the US Military in 1984 as a Military Police Officer. So there really isn't any excuse for it.

On a different note, I took the munchkin swimming this afternoon. We went to my uncles where I could swim in private. I hate being seen in a swimming suit. It was a fun day and since my uncle was still recuperating from a hospital stay, it was a nice break to visit with him.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Today I had my D.Min. interview. It seemed to go very well and it looks like I will be admitted, pending approval of the committee. I hope that they let me know very soon so that I can be getting ready. I have to read eleven books prior to the classes. I ordered four of them from Amazon yesterday. So at least I can get started. Besides I like books, like a duck likes water, like .... well you get the idea.

Afterward, I had another District meeting. There are three different district events that I was supposed to attend. I only am making two out of the three. Because I had a six hour District training last week. I love that we are connectional but that was just getting a little too connected besides child has a competition to attend. And I am really trying to balance all the different demands on my life. I'm really getting good at combining things.

For instance, I went to the District meeting with my child in tow. That way we could buy school clothes in the same trip. It is self-defense. Gas prices are killing me.

In the next three months, my church has three big evangelism/ministry events that are starting up. It is a busy time but finally it feels as if the church is beginning to look outward and quit focusing on just themselves. I may be wrong and they are just storing everything up and it will all explode in my face but I am praying that we can move forward.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Morning After

Okay.... I actually made it past midnight without turning into a pumpkin. I see a lot of bleacher time in my future. It was warm and a little sticky with about a zillion bugs in the air (and more than a few dropping and hitting people in the head). I am going to get myself one of those stadium seats because having nothing to lean against is very uncomfortable after the first hour. There was a good sized crowd especially considering that almost everyone had to get up and go to work the next day.

I have my monthly discipleship meeting with my fellow UM clergy. I don't really mind the monthly meetings. We definitely cannot say that we have missed out on some vital piece of information because it is usually passed out more than once (I feel sorry for the forest that is sacrificed because of this, however.). What I do mind is one person because he talks so much. He has a comment and a story about ANYTHING that is said by anyone else. The only thing that keeps me from getting really irritated is watching my friend as he struggles to deal with his irritation.

I have my "Current Events and Scripture" Bible Study this afternoon. We will be talking about risk taking. Since I live in a rural area, most of my congregation think that riding a bull is an acceptable risk. I used to rappel down the side of perfectly good mountains so I can relate to enjoying certain risky behaviors. I mean, really, I'm a woman pastor in an area that isn't always convinced that we should be allowed to even be educated. I spent five years as a Military Police Officer in the Army so this should be an interesting conversation.

Sunday, August 5, 2007


THE BEST: Today was a good day in worship. I was able to use some of that very expensive training to actually do some good. I told the people about the "Nothing But Nets" malaria net program. And then a parishioner got up and spoke about her experiences in Africa. We raised more money in our Communion offering than we have every done before AND we plan on doing it for the rest of the month.

THE GOOD: Even though most of my congregation was at another church this morning (child being baptized), which really underscores the issue when many of the members are related. We were able to really have a great service. We had a guest pianist who did a great job (We used to be held hostage by our pianist).

THE BAD: My air conditioner is leaking. This would probably not be that big of a deal at a church that had a little more financial resources but it is here. I am having to put a bucket under the leak and a towel in the hall to soak up the water that misses the bucket. The good news is that, while the outside heat index is 100, the air inside is still cool.

THE INTERESTING: Part of my community ministry will require me to be at the football field tonight until after 1 a.m. I haven't be out and about after midnight in a long time. I might be turning into an old, fuddy, duddy.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Blue-collar Ministry

I'm reading a book by tex sample "blue-collar Ministry: facing economic and social realities of working people". In the introduction, he talks about the pervasive religion of winning that infects every aspect of life in the United States. I was particularly struck by a couple of his comments, "People become lonely individuals by virtue of the fact that, at some level, everyone else is a rival."

The other comment was regarding women pastors. "Many are socialized to believe that they cannot win. And living in a culture in which dignity is earned by winning - or so it is believed - and feeling that one's role is nurturance mean that one is defined out of the real action and that one's identity is a second-class identity."

We seem to be in a system that is extremely competitive. We have to log our worship attendence numbers on the Conference system every Monday morning, along with our Professions of Faiths and our Mission numbers.

I wonder if much of the isolation we feel from each other, both men and women pastors, stems from this intense level of competition that we are operating at.

Life is Full of Firsts

This is the first time that I have tried posting my thoughts on-line. It is a little intimidating to share your thoughts but I needed a way to re-connect with other women in ministry. I graduated from seminary in May and I am starting my D.Min. work in September (if everything works out).

I pastor a small country church that I love but can't seem to grow. It is very frustrating because my Bishop is very focused on numbers and I am not producing great numbers. We are doing great, new things in ministry but "Butts in the Pews" are just not happening. My people say that when they get a male pastor that it will really take off. OUCH!!