Friday, November 30, 2007

Did It

Okay, I finally worked up the courage and sent in my Commissioning packet. Now I get to sit on tenterhooks for the next two months until I hear from my Triad. And then another month before the Grand Inquisition of the full conference BOM. I'm going to play Scarlett O'Hara and not think about it until tomorrow.

New couple came to help clean the church today. He put up all the outside lights. Amazing!!! We got everything cleaned and prepped for the "Hanging of the Greens" on Sunday. It wasn't the way that I like to spend my day off but it worked out okay.

The workers came and pulled up the Memorial Garden today. They did a great job and everyone should be happy with the result. I wish that the family that put it in had kept it up the way that they promised and I really, really wish that my little, old Trustee man had not hurt the family's feelings over the upkeep. The man that was called a "traitor" by my trustee has actually come back to the church. Small communities are amazing. They really are like great big families, fighting and forgiving.

Ryss is competing at the Regional UIL Band competition with her oboe. They are not expected back until 11 p.m. Way past my bedtime, not necessarily when I go to sleep but I hate having to sit up at the school in the dark waiting for the bus. Parents aren't allowed to go to this competition. Hmmmppphhhh (grouses the mom).

Just got off the phone with girl child.... she made the Regional Band, Second Chair. Okay, not so grumpy now. I remember when she first started playing it. It sounded like a duck call. I used to tease her that all the ducks were circling our place looking for water. That phase wasn't nearly as painful as when she first learned the violin. It sounded like she was torturing her cat. Of course, she was only five at the time.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Not the Flu

Don't have the flu or a cold....I suspect that it might be hormonal. Took a herbal supplement and I felt somewhat better. Not at 100% but I did manage to exercise this morning which was more than I could do yesterday.

My mentor watched my video, not all the way through because he had already heard me preach it once. He watched it looking to see if I was natural, confident and comfortable in the pulpit. He gave me an A+. I have packed up my commissioning packet and I am taking it to the post office in the morning (it was already closed when we were done). I bet you are all glad not to have to hear about that any more.

I have two graduation ceremony's on December 15th. My sister's and my friend's... she is graduating with a B.S. in Education and he is getting his M.Div. They are at different schools, 100 miles apart, at the same time. Yuck! I really wanted to celebrate with both of them but it looks like I have to choose. I'm thinking that I will go to my sister's.

My sister and I didn't always get along growing up. One of the most dramatic changes in my life after I accepted Christ was that the relationship with my sister improved. It isn't perfect but it gets better as the years go by.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Quotes from William Sloane Coffin

I thought I would share a few quotes from William Sloane Coffin that I found helpful today.

1. Often in life, when we find ourselves in binds, we choose the path of least resistance, or maybe we refuse to choose. When we need to be most decisive, we go passive. I think that you have to be good by choice and that much evil is simply a refusal to choose. In fact, most evil in this world probably stems from indecision. This is a important point to make in a country that makes much of freedom of choice. For what is freedom of choice if you've lost the ability to choose? (Credo, p. 130)

2. A dog can't go anywhere if he's always stopping to scratch his fleas. (Credo, p.132)

3. God loves us as we are, but much too much to leave us there. (Ibid)

4. It is often said that the Church is a crutch. Of course it's a crutch. What makes you think you don't limp? (Credo, p 137)


I made up for my disappointing diet news of last week yesterday. I lost three pounds over Thanksgiving. Yep, a minor miracle has occurred. Plus, I have lost over 11" over-all. Not a bad start but much, much more to go.

I was reading "How To Be Good In a World Gone Bad" by James Spiegel last night. He is a Christian philosophy teacher at Taylor University in Indiana. It is a book about the virtues. I have found it extremely helpful in my personal journey. Anyway I read a chapter on faith that really hit home.

You all know that I have been scared about sending in my Commissioning packet. He says that my fear is a symptom of a lack of faith. Ouch, double ouch. My friend who was ordained a few years ago said, "Send it in!" My mentor said, "Send it in."

I have been following a chatline about the problems with the ordination process. A pastor is who is now retired recounted the struggles that she had with the ordination process and how it almost kept her from being ordained as an elder. I suppose that my problem is not and has never been unique. And it was my pride that was hurt so in many ways I am showing a lack of faith.

I plan on taking it to the post office this week and mailing it. I would go today but I woke up (very late) feeling like I'm fighting off a cold. I am taking lots of zinc and vitamin C but feel pretty cruddy. This is not the season to get sick.... way too busy.

Monday, November 26, 2007


We have had a new couple for the last two Sunday's. The first Sunday they said that they were just starting to look for a church after moving here a year ago. They visited ours because of my NAME. Yep, the thing that usually sends most people running the opposite direction (I live in an area predominately populated by Southern Baptists). Apparently, my name is the same as their daughter's.

Well, they came back yesterday and are already making plans to become involved in the church. Did I mention the best part? He plays the guitar, the drums and loves to sing.

Plus, next Sunday I'm baptizing my new great-niece and making plans for an adult baptism. Things are looking up in my part of the world.

Advent or Christmas Music

There is a huge debate among the Order of Saint Luke about using Christmas Carols during the season of Advent. Most believe that it is wrong to co-mingle the two. I have always allowed the church to have Christmas carols during the Advent season. My mentor has a saying, "Is this a ditch that you are willing to die in?"

I went to the mat's when it came to remodeling the sanctuary. Took several punches over the evangelism events of last month. So I'm willing to "fight the good fight", but this doesn't seem like something that is worth the fight. Maybe I'm not seeing the whole picture, maybe my theology isn't strong on this point, but this is a season of joy and celebration with enough stress to go around. So we will be singing Christmas carols at my church. What about you?


On another subject: My daughter made it back from Oklahoma safely. Hugh sigh of relief. What was I thinking letting her travel to a different state on such a dangerous week-end? I must have been out of my mind!

The eye doctor's are still working on my prescription. They have it much better but I might have to switch doctor's because she is convinced that I need bi-focals and keeps saying that is why everything is fuzzy. I told her that I could read just fine with my old glasses and it is obviously the prescription. I hate it when they are stubborn. Plus, I hate that it is over on hour away.

Friday, November 23, 2007

South Central Jurisdiction

News from the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women in the United Methodist Church. For more information:

Women comprise approximately 59% of the membership in the South Central Jurisdiction.

1. Laywomen in the South Central Jurisdiction comprise 48% of the jurisdictional delegates. Seven conferences have 50% or more women in their lay delegation. Two conferences have no laywomen as delegates to jurisdictional conference.

2. Clergywomen comprise 32% of the jurisdictional delegates. Nine conferences have more than 32% clergywomen as their delegates. Two conferences have no clergywomen as delegates to jurisdictional conferences.


I remember a year or so ago in Seminary when a young seminary student said, "I hate that we keep bringing up all this feminist stuff. I mean, we've all moved beyond the need for this any longer." He was very sincere, very naive but sincere. He felt the same way about race. Only a white male that grew up in a very affluent household could be that naive, and even then it was a little startling.

Shame on those two conferences that didn't see fit, to even try, to equally represent their conferences. I am curious if it will even be brought up at the conference. Will their lack of female representation even be mentioned?

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I finally decided to mail in my Commissioning packet tomorrow.

Well, maybe....

Darn I've almost talked myself out of it again. I am really, really nervous about my video sermon. I think I will have to take it to my mentor. He really liked it when I practiced it in front of him, so I don't see that changing. SHOOT. I am not usually this wishy-washy but after the fiasco of last year, I am feeling very tentative, nervous, scared...... not my usual self at all. I mean, I have spent the last four years preparing for this and if I don't make it this time, what will I do?

Amazing what rejection can do to a normally self-confident person.

What a Day!

Rolls, Wheat Bread, Macaroni & Cheese, and Jalepeno/bacon appetizers were my contribution to the family feast. All went amazingly well and then to top it off the Cowboy's won their game. It was great. Plus, I got home and watched my recorded Philadelphia Dog Show and the Australian Shepherd won Best in Show. Luke and I did a victory dance in the living room.

Football, food, family and dog shows.... how can you beat that?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I am so sore today that I can hardly move. My personal trainer is a sadist. Not really, but I am in pain. Unfortunately, I gained 2/10 of a pound last week. I am in a smaller size of pants but didn't lose any weight. I'm blaming it on the Community Thanksgiving Service. I had to eat or I would have seemed unsociable. Yep, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I will be at my sister's tomorrow for Thanksgiving. Last year we had it at my house but she got a new house a month ago and is dying for everyone to come there. I'm really glad. It means that I don't have to worry about getting mine "family" ready. And, I get to leave when I've had enough "family" time. When I accepted Christ into my heart, my family relationships dramatically improved, but they can be a little hard to take for extended periods of time. Luckily, I only live 30 minutes away so I can leave fairly easily.

I am absolutely not participating in "Black Friday" sales. I find all of that absolutely crazy. I can't understand actually getting up at 4 am, to stand in line, to spend my money. My sister-in-law lives for Friday and she does by a ton of stuff for a reasonable amount of money. I still can't see the appeal in getting pushed, shoved, and mauled to give a store money.

The church, kindly, gave me my paycheck early so that I could spend it buying stuff on Friday. Not happening..... but I wish all of you lot's of great bargains as you shop until you drop. I will sit in vigil for your safe return (if you tell me you will be out in that mess).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Community Thanksgiving Service

Last night was the Community Thanksgiving Service and I really enjoyed it. My only task was reading the Old Testament lesson. I chose Isaiah 12. Then I got to sit back and enjoy the music and the message, which was given by a young, energetic Baptist pastor. It was good.

I was a little embarrassed because no one from my church actually showed up except for my daughter. The best part was the very, very young Baptist pastor from the church across the street. He looked at me and said, "Sister Dulce, have you been losing weight?" Yippee!!

I finally finished typing the recipes. It took forever. It will be my Christmas present to the Quilter's Club.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Reading Buddy

Luke was sleeping next to me while I read until Ryss took his picture. This was absolutely not posed. He sits like this quite a bit.

OCD...Not Me!!

Commission packet... lying there looking all innocent and harmless. On my disciplinary questions last year, I wrote that we were all created in God's image. My triad jumped on the fact that I had not put the biblical source for that statement. I remember looking at them and thinking, "DUH, how about Genesis 1?".

Now I wonder, should I go ahead and send it to the Registrar or wait? What message does it send if I send it in a full month before it is due? Will they think that I am not taking it seriously? Or will they think that I have complex about dead-lines?

I am probably over-analyzing this, but I really want it out of my hair and off my mind. I don't want to worry about some accident in the house ruining the packet.

Am I being a totaly nut-case?

Month of November

Remember in an earlier blog I was wondering what we celebrated besided Thanksgiving in November? Well, Judy Callarman listed the following list on her blog.

Did you know that there are thirteen (or maybe fifteen) national awareness promotions designated for the month of November! There might even be others.
Red Ribbon Month
Drunk & Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month
Lung Cancer Awareness Month
American Diabetes Month
National COPD Awareness Month
National Hospice Month
National Novel Writing Month
National Marrow Awareness Month
National Family Caregivers Month
National Inspirational Role Models Month
National Alzheimer's Disease Month
National American Indian Heritage Month
National Adoption Month
Aviation History Month
Prematurity Awareness Month

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Brave New World

Well, I have committed. Committed to the ski trip after Christmas. I made the reservations for the ski lodge in Taos, New Mexico and then we are going to visit my father for New Year's. Stepping out in faith that nothing will happen and cause me to lose my deposit. I have someone who has promised to preach for me on December 30th, so hopefully nothing will go wrong.

I have been such a good girl the last few days and haven't had to move my "No Complaining" bracelet at all. However, that is changing right now. Typing those recipes for the "Banes of My Existence" quilting club is killing me. All the weird keystrokes for the numbers and different symbols has my carpal tunnel syndrome --screaming bloody murder.

Will I never learn? Don't volunteer, don't volunteer, don't volunteer.... which totally goes against my grain. I probably need to explore this aspect of my personality but not while typing all of these recipes.

I picked up my new contacts today. Extended wear. They feel so much better then the other ones did but I still think that the prescription for the left eye is wrong. In fact, I know it is. I have to go back in one week for a check-up and I will get her to fix the prescription. Good thing it is the left eye, I can't wink with the right one.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


The psychiatrist decided that I am probably sane enough for ministry....good to know. My tests revealed that I am too trusting. Is that really a bad thing in a pastor? But really, I am so not on that side of the scale that it was almost funny. It made me doubt the validity of the test. I'm really glad that is over. I hope that everything else goes smoothly.

Met my personal trainer today... I only lost one pound this last week and that was with working out every single day. So I have lost a total of five pounds with the trainer and twelve pounds overall. She predicts that I will have lost twenty pounds by the time of my vacation if I keep working hard. If I manage that I might actually go skiing with Ryss and not just look on from the sidelines. I'm not sure though, because I have skied in Colorado and in Europe and I really don't like it that much. Now riding snowmobiles that is really cool.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Today, I got up, exercised and then got busy. I have finished all of my paperwork for my commissioning; Sermon, Bible Study, BOD Questions. Everything is finished except for making four copies and submitting it all to the Registrar. It is due on December 19th.

It was pretty much all done but I got it all submitted on the DOVE system today and put the finishing touches on a couple of things.

I feel very free now. So I will be going into my psych evaluation with a good attitude, which is much better than it was last week. I am so psyched right now. All of that stuff that was hanging over my head is gone; Charge Conference=finished, Commissioning Stuff=finished, D.Min. papers=finished except for one paragraph and bibliography.

I am dancing around my office right now.

Now about that bibliography- my D.Min. project is over small groups and spiritual growth in a small church. I have a lot of Spiritual formation and growth books but my library is sadly deficient in small group dynamics, leadership of small groups, etc. Do any of you have book recommendations? This is due on November 20th. And then I will be finished for 2007 except for all the normal churchy stuff that we all will be doing.

I am getting very excited about my vacation. Please pray that nothing interferes with this. It seems kind of selfish but I am tired and really want a break.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Charge Conference

After church, we had our traditional church thanksgiving dinner and then our Charge Conference. There was about an hour in between the clean-up and the Charge Conference, so we were almost all totally ready for a nap. Luckily our convener was very short winded so Charge Conference only lasted thirty minutes. Only ten people even bothered to stay. One more thing crossed off my list.

Ryss and I watched movies all day yesterday. Never left the house. It was great. I stayed away from the computer so I wouldn't be tempted to work and I wasn't. Ryss spent a couple of hours trying to make flying cheaper than driving to New Mexico. She really wanted to fly but was unable to come up with a better rate. She had worked it out except for that bummer part of me having to work on Christmas Eve. Sometimes it's a bummer being a PK.

Psych eval tomorrow. Yippee!! I will let you know how it goes. Hopefully, they will decide that I'm not too crazy to be a pastor, which is a little subjective, isn't it???????????

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday Five

am writing in my official capacity of grump!!! No seriously, with the shops and stores around us filling with Christmas gifts and decorations, the holiday season moving up on us quickly for many the time from Thanksgiving onwards will be spent in a headlong rush towards Christmas with hardly a time to breathe.... I am looking at the possibility of finding little gaps in the day or the week to spend in extravagant unbusyness ( a wonderful phrase coined by fellow revgal Michelle)...So given those little gaps, name 5 things you would do to; care for your body
New exercise program and I have lost four pounds over the last week. I even bought a new indoor bike for variety in the exercise program.

2. to care for your spirit
I am planning a vacation to New Mexico to visit my Dad. I haven't told anyone yet except in my quest to find someone to preach for me. I might even take my daughter skiing, which is totally not my thing but she loves the snow. I grew up next to Taos in New Mexico and only the crazy tourists went skiing.

3. to care for your mind
I have a checklist and have almost checked off everything that has to be submitted for my commissioning. When that is done, my mind will be free, free I say. Plus, I have totally tuned into watching "That 70's Show". My personality profile said that was the best way for me to relieve stress.

4. to bring a sparkle to your eye
Contacts. My peeps told me Sunday at church that contacts make me look 10 years younger. Which is a backwards compliment if I ever heard one. It reminds me of one of my now deceased parishioners who said, "You preach good...for a woman".

5. to place a spring in your step, Enjoy the time to indulge and dream....
I don't know if it is a dream but I really pray that my commissioning goes through with no hitches. It has been a tough year on me.

and then for a bonus which one on the list are you determined to put into action?
I am determined to get into shape. Really, the personal trainer is working my butt off, literally working it off.

Old Glory

So today was my day off and I spent it putting up flags in the next town over. It is a fundraiser for the Ladies Club. Why, O why did I join the Ladies Club?!?

I think that I was feeling a little anxious after graduating from seminary. I thought, "What ever will I do with all this extra time?" Duhhh.... needless to say, there has been no extra time.

Joining stuff has never worked very well for me. First, I joined the Army, not just once either, I re-enlisted. And now the Ladies Club. At least in the Army I got to rappel off of cool stuff, like old castles, got to go up with the US Army parachute team and did lots of other cool stuff.

There has been no cool stuff to do in the Ladies Club. Sigh!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Stroke, Heart Attack??

My doctor called me yesterday. He is concerned with my cholesterol. It is high. The bad cholesterol is really high but overall I'm in the border-line category. I told him about my new exercise and diet program (I've lost four pounds over the last week). He agreed to let me try the diet and exercise route for three or four months. He knows my family very well, however, and is worried about the genetic component.

I'm not as worried. My sister went vegetarian and her cholesterol levels dropped dramatically. I probably won't go quite that far but I will cut out all red meat. I've been eating much better anyway with the whole dieting thing.

Four pounds in one week. I was very happy.


At our Administrative Council meeting last night, the church voted to enter into a dialogue with another local Methodist congregation about the possibility of a merger between the two congregations. Logically and financially this is the best possible move for the two churches. Neither can truly support a pastor and actual ministry to the community, so it makes sense to pool their resources.

Emotionally I'm a little bummed out. When I came here four years ago, I really had high hopes about turning this little church around. I knew that the conference would only prop them up financially for five years. Well, time is almost up and they can't make it on their own. They could manage the salary of a part-time pastor but that is only delaying the inevitable.

The conference had been trying for years to get this merger accomplished and it never got this far before now. It could all blow up and still not actually happen but the writing is on the wall.

I wonder if you are being a good leader when it really feels like failure?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Newest member of my clan, Ella Nicole Jean born today at 12:30, weighing in at 6 lbs 11 oz.

God is good!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Seeing Clearly

I made the plunge or, rather, stuck my finger in my eye. I am trying contacts. It has been twenty years since I last tried and I'm not sure that they are the right prescription. Everything seems a little bit more fuzzy than wearing glasses. I sure don't like putting them in every morning. I have to go back to the doctor in a few days for a follow-up visit. I'm going to ask about extended wear and about the fuzziness.

Do any of you wear contacts? Are they usually clearer than glasses?

Well, I'm off to the "personal trainer". I have lost weight this week. Yippee!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Just Shoot Me Now

Those of you who have been following my Commissioning saga know that getting through the process has been brutal. One of the obstacles is getting your psychological examination. Now in and of itself, getting a psych eval is not that big of a deal, however, the Texas Conference is massive geographically but there is only one doctor that is allowed to do the TAC psych evaluations and he lives in Houston. Now I live in what is affectionately referred to as the Northern Kingdom and they make us brutally compete with others in the process to get a limited number of slots in which he will come up to a more central spot for us to be evaluated.

Now those of you who are logical might say, "don't they know how many need to have the evaluation and make an according number of appointments to see the Head Doctor?" I would say, no, no -- that would make to much sense. It is much better for us to be in competition with each other, harassing our references (because they won't make the appointment until your references are into the psych office) and even paying to have the references Next Day Aired to the good doctor.

Well, you know me--they received my references (Next Day Aired) last Tuesday. I immediately answer. Left messages.....not returned. Now keep in mind I have spoken with or left a message with the appointment lady every two days. Finally, got through today. Was told, we have no slot for you. It wasn't pretty. Temper tantrum does not really begin to describe what I did after hanging up with the lady. My dogs are still lurking around the corner. Luke has never seen such a thing and is still a little bit scared.

After calming down, I called the District Chair of Ordained Ministry. She is wonderful and she knew how on top of this process I have been (because I have kept her informed every step of the way). Well, not exactly sure what she did but the lady called me back and I now have an appointment with the good doctor next Monday at the northern location.

All of us going through this process feel that we are held hostage at this particular step of the program, all appointments must be with this one doctor and through just this particular lady. And we must compete for a limited number of slots if we live in the Northern half of the conference.

I have never really believed that complaining was the right way to handle a situation like this. I mean, how does it look? I, also, thought that the doctor might write up a bad report if you did something like this (and who knows he might). But I can't find it in me to be sorry about it this time. And I must say that the hissy fit has left me feeling drained and cleansed in a strangely peculiar way.

You have all heard the term, Nepotism. Well, that describes our conference and the relationship with this "Center". There are hundreds of qualified clinical psychologists in my area. Why just one?

Oh look, Luke has come back into the office and is laying at my feet. He must sense that I am better now and that scary, scary lady has went away. I know that most of you probably live in a conference that doesn't make you turn into a bloody competitor for appointments with someone that every single candidate must see. And so, you are probably sitting there shaking your heads or maybe you are remembering your process. Something has to be done and in three years (God have mercy), this is going to be my cause.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Quiet Week

This week has been one of the quietest weeks that I have experienced in a long, long time. Only one emergency call from a parishioner and that was on Monday. It is getting kind of freaky, like the calm before the storm. I am hoping (and praying) that it is because the month of October was so busy. Sunday will be non-stop from dawn to late at night, so I guess it was good to rest this week. Next week will be all the Charge Conference stuff (Charge Conference is next Sunday).

I finished writing most of my papers for my D.Min. semester. I will have to do two more before the next seminar in July, one before the end of November and the other before the end of June. I am preaching my commission sermon on Sunday (and video taping it). I went and practiced with my mentor and had him critique the sermon and the delivery. He said I did a great job (Yippee). All of my paperwork is pretty much complete and ready for submission. In fact, next week I will have it all wrapped up. It is not due until December 19th. Anal, OCD, you make the call!

I believe that I put most of the pressure on myself and it caught up with me yesterday. I have a confession. I never got out of my pajamas yesterday. However, I did do my assigned physical work-out (on a stationary bicycle in my pajamas). I have been a good girl in that department. I thought that it would help the cramps but they came on with a vengeance yesterday. I am better today. This was something that I had no experience with until the last couple of years. All of my check-ups are normal, so a guess it is part of getting older but I must admit that it sucks.

I would like to spend part of the Christmas school break visiting my dad in New Mexico. He is having heart problems (more than one heart attack). Yesterday, was his birthday and he sounded pretty down. I haven't been to see him in several years. I haven't had a vacation in over a year and a half, so I'm due but leaving during Christmas might be hard. Maybe if we left after church and came back before church the following week. I need to start planning now and try to find someone to preach because I think that a Sunday away might be even better.

Sunday is my three month anniversary of blogging. Happy Anniversary to MoreCows for making one year. I am looking forward to the 3-month anniversary because now I will be able to join RevGalBlogPals. Funny thing for an introvert to look forward to, joining a group. Isn't it?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bible Belt

I live in the "Bible Belt" supposedly, but you couldn't tell by a recent television poll. A local news station asked the following poll question; "Do you believe that the government should water-board if it can save lives?"

70% of the people responding said, "Yes", 22 % said "No", and 8% "Undecided". Where does Jesus advocate that the ends justify the means?

Please tell me that was an anomaly! Surely, that isn't the way that people truly feel?