Friday, December 28, 2007

Angel FIre

Just wanted to let you all know that we arrived safely at Angel Fire, New Mexico. Ryss is currently out on the slopes learning how to snowboard. I watched her a few minutes ago and she was flying down the hill...until she fell (Ouch). She went a long way before she fell, though. She could already skateboard a little so that helped her with this.

The drive into the mountains was absolutely glorious. Snow was falling and the scene was one of peace and beauty. I hate being cold in Texas because it seeps into your bones but being in New Mexico was just as I remembered growing up. And hasn't really bothered me at all, Ryss has had a little more trouble adjusting to the cold.

Down in the lobby of the resort last night they had a man (Tom Perry) playing both the violin and guitar (not at the same time). We spent hours watching him. She can't wait to see him again tonight. I haven't' been able to convince her to play the violin with him or even to bring her guitar down to the lobby. What a goof. We picked up some guitar lesson books for her in Amarillo and she is already playing "Ode to Joy" and "O Susanna".

It has been fun so far. The only bad thing to happen was I lost some money--somewhere. Not enough to matter but enough to sting a little. I consider it my offering to the Mountain gods....I'm just kidding.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day

My Dad loaned her one of his guitar's. So she is trying to learn to play it too. Notice all the braids in her hair. I asked her who she was imitating. She said, "Mom, I'm finding my own personal style...I don't care how the other girls are dressed."
(Notice Luke closely watching her and Misti the cat trying to sneak in close. Lily is getting close to me, I think she isn't sure about all the noise.)

Ryss experimenting with her new violin.

My mom crocheted all of our Christmas ornaments. I love the fact that they are handmade and unbreakable, which is very important in my house.

We are packing. Getting reading to leave for the mountains tomorrow. Yippee!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Candlelight Service

(See the great big box by the tree? That's the violin. Under the tree looks pretty scarce, it's hard to show a Snowboarding vacation under the tree.)

Candlelight Service: I thought it was going to be a disaster. My musician and my liturgist did not show up for the Christmas Candlelight Service. I was freaking out. We had a ton, a ton, of guests. AND NO ONE TO PLAY THE MUSIC.

We did the entire service of Lessons and CAROLS a cappella. It was a wonderful service. During one hymn, my daughter, who was helping with the reading of the lessons made everyone do an extra verse of a hymn that she thought they could do better. It was all done with humor and laughter and, guess what, the second time was much better. Imagine a very short, 13 year-old girl, bossing and coaxing an entire congregation to put more heart in the singing of the hymns. John Wesley would be proud....I know that I am.

I wish that the shrinks could see how preachers react to real-life situations. We still haven't found out where the missing pianist (AKA Head Bane) or the liturgist are. We drove over, checking on them but the house was empty, car was gone, and all the presents were gone from under the tree. So we are hoping that they are with family.

Spent yesterday, after church, with my ex-husband's family. He wasn't there but they are so great to both Ryss and I. I wasn't looking forward to driving to Flower Mound which is over 100 miles from our house, but it was a good trip. One of the reasons was my new present from Ryss. She got me a Sirius Radio for the car. I listened to a comedy show all the way there and laughed all the way there. I thought that after that horrible drive to Houston I would hate being in the car again but it was nice and now I'm not dreading the actual drive to New Mexico.

My neice was kind of enought to give me a massage today. She is a Registered Massage Therapist. It is so nice having one in the family. Now all we need is an Auto Mechanic and a doctor and the family will be sitting pretty.

Tonight my baby curled up in my lap while I read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to her. One of our holiday traditions. She is real big on traditions. If we do it once (and she likes it), it offically and magically becomes a tradition. So I'm praying that all of you have put your presents under the tree, kissed all your munchkins (or spouses) and wake up to a truly magical morning.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I Rock with Costa Rica

I was driving through the great metropolis of "Buffalo, Texas" and I saw actual buffalo out in a pasture. Of course, I had to slam on the brakes, back up and take a picture. Now don't get me wrong, I've seen buffalo before but this just struck me as appropriate and kind of funny. Hey, when you spend thirteen hours on a road trip, the little things and the humor of it all is all you have sometimes.
I will say that the last two days I haven't been able to eat. I did take a hunk of Jo(e)'s "Healthy Bread". I'm starting to believe that it has the properties of Manna. You eat a little bit and can go the rest of the day without eating again. I bought some more ingredients so I can make another batch, with some slivered almonds and blueberries.
So you might be wondering about the title of this Blog. Well, my Wonderful Child bought me a Sirius Radio for Christmas. Of course, installing it by myself was a nightmare. I finally got it in and partially working but had to call the help center for another activation signal. I got a wonderful girl down in Costa Rica who walked me through everything, was extremely friendly and very helpful. I can honestly say that I have talked to many, many, many customer service people who are based somewhere other than the United States (and some that were based here) and she was the exception to the rule (The rule being that they are rude and unhelpful or unable to communicate in English). So with the help of this great lady, I got it installed, hence the title of the blog.
WonderGirl is at Cheerleading practice. She was not really happy about spending four hours at school on the first day of Christmas break. I was though. I have to find a box big enough for her gift and get it wrapped. Let me confess, I am a gift bag kind of person. My patience with wrapping is non-existent. After I pick her up, I plan on spending the rest of the day reading a non-thinking book by J.D. Robb.

Vague Results

I suppose that yesterday went okay, at least I made it back safe and sound. I don't have any more to say....the doctor said he would let me know immediately before I went to Houston, but yesterday he said that he needed more time to process the information. Apparently, I'm complex....what person that lives to age 43, has children, has been married and lived life is not complex?

He will let me know the results sometime after the 1st of the year. It is all in God's hands now. I refuse to let it spoil the Christmas holidays with my daughter. I've done all I can. The only negative thought that I have is that I have been tested four times and even last month was assured that everything was normal with my testing. One of my friends has suggested that they may have mixed up the test results since it isn't done by our name but by a number. Ah well, I will survive even if he doesn't give me a good recommendation.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Positive Thoughts

Those of you who know and love people with the personality type ISTJ, know that we are of a more pessimistic mindset than most. Today, however, I am setting off to Houston with a positive outlook.

I played the RevGalPalBlog Trivia game this morning and scored a perfect 10 and I was #1 (at least until people not on dial-up start playing). I went to the doctor yesterday and I have lost a grand total of 22 pounds since my physical in October.

Good signs....probably not....but I WILL BE POSITIVE.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Spent a couple of hours cruising job listings on-line....feeling better about my future.

Tired in Texas

I know that I should not feel this pessimistic about this conference and all the requirements that it requires but I'm feeling very angry this morning. Of course, it didn't help that I couldn't sleep last night.

I am dealing with it but I'm not happy. I was truly called by God to this life or I wouldn't be fighting this hard for it. And if this had happened ten years ago, I wouldn't stick around for the 2nd Act. I have faith that this is where God wants me but the bureaucracy is killing me.

I've been told that part of the problem is that I don't fit the profile that the Conference has for its clergy. Strike one against me...I'm not male. Strike two against me....I'm a single mother. Strike three against me.....I'm no longer in my twenties or thirties. It doesn't help that I'm Hispanic but don't speak Spanish. Basically, I'm not what the establishment is used to seeing. Lest you believe that I am being paranoid, this came from a member of the District Board of Ordained Ministry.

So I am being proactive this morning, I have started writing down different conference telephone numbers so I can have a plan of action if tomorrow doesn't go well. Plus, I'm going to contact a couple of local community colleges and schools about possible positions.

My Bible Study group was very supportive of my ministry last night. They affirmed my calling and the fruits of my ministry which was very comforting. It goes against my nature to confide in people but I really needed their prayers and support last night. I will have my 4th anniversary at this church in 11 days, longer than any other pastor in recent (or known) history. I am finding it hard to rejoice in that right now.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


My day has been personally devastating. I have been through the psych testing for this conference three times. I've always tested as normal and suited for ministry. The head of the testing center is making me drive all the way to Houston on Friday for a face-to-face meeting about my most recent test. This is after meeting with one of his psychologist's last month and being told that everything was good-to-go.

Why do we put ourselves through things like this?? When I graduated with my B.S. in History, I could have went straight into teaching without any student loan debt. Five years later, I'm up to my eyeballs in debt from seminary and, apparently, still I'm not finished jumping through all of the hoops that this conference puts before us.

I will drive to Houston (five hours away), meet with this guy for an hour at 4 p.m., and then try to turn around and make it back to my daughter before midnight. He wanted to meet next Wednesday (the day after Christmas). I told him I was leaving on my first vacation in 18 months that day and couldn't do it then.

Do any of you need a slightly used pastor in your conference? And they wonder why the numbers of clergy are dropping!

Personality Types

I sure that most of you have taken the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator. I am a ISTJ. I recently ran across the results from my test and stapled to the back was a list of prayers for each personality type.

Here is mine: "Lord, help me to relax about insignificant details beginning tomorrow at 11:41.23 CST (17:41.23 GMT)."

If you want to know your specific personality type prayer, comment with your type and I will answer you in the comments.

What had me digging through my old files? Well, I received the books that I mentioned a few days ago. They are all about tailoring your prayer life and spirituality based on your type. I'm getting started on the reading at exactly 9:55.45 CST :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Shopping....Complete

Yep, I finished all of my shopping duties today. I am officially done. Finis. Kaput.

I, also, finished the bulletins for the next two weeks and for the Candlelight Service. The only thing left on my to-do list is changing the oil. I even bought an ice scraper for the mountains.

I read a wonderful recipe on that I can't wait to try. Of course, it means another trip to the store. I had everything I needed except for the apple juice. It will be perfect for my diet.

I have lost another two pounds this week for a total of (drumroll, please) thirteen pounds. I bought new jeans which were a size smaller and had to punch a new hold in my belt. Unfortunately, my personal trainer had to stop training through the holidays due to her schedule. So I got up this morning and did the entire routine all by myself. I'm not anywhere near my goal but, the way I see it, it's a journey of small steps.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Concern Abated

Well, after several phone calls, the problem with the Dove System and the missing Report Day files was discovered. Apparently, I wasn't listed as the senior pastor in the Dove System. After yesterday, I wish that was true.

Unfortunately it is now fixed and I have almost finished inputting all of the report data, at least all that can be finished before the year actually ends.

I have several things that must be accomplished this week....a few more presents to buy....change the oil and check the anti-freeze in the SUV.....finish bulletins for the next two Sundays and for the Candlelight Service....bake something for a bake sale at school.........the list is never-ending, is it?

One Concern

To be near God is my happiness. The Lord God is my refuge.

(And it didn't hurt that I went back to bed after Ryss got on the school bus and slept until 10:30. Of course, I will be behind for the rest of the day but I feel so much better.)

My friend called last night. He had read my blog and thought that I must have been exaggerating about my day, especially about the advent wreath catching on fire. I assured him that it was all the literal truth. Nothing, including the Advent fire, was for comic effect. He gave me a suggestion about what to preach next Sunday something along the lines of this generation must die before the people can enter into the Holy land.....I decided better not.

I am too excited to be upset any longer....leaving on vacation next week.....going to the mountains....visiting God in the high places......they have had three feet of new powder in the last seven days....

My one and only concern this morning is the End of Year Reports that are supposed to be on DOVE (computer system from "the evil one"). They aren't there. How can I have them done before I leave on vacation if they aren't there?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Post Script

Christmas party went okay. Of course, passive-agressive woman was ugly to my child. What is truly wonderful about the entire evening (besides it finally being over)---Ryss came up to me and said, "Momma, let's pray for (passive-agressive woman)". And proceeded to say a lovely prayer for this mean, mean woman.

Oh the things that we learn from our children.

(Nine more days until I leave on vacation)

One Last Thought

And during the middle of my sermon......the advent wreath catches on was kind of hard to remember what I was preaching after that. Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

You Gott Luv 'Em

I remember when I told my family that I was going into the ministry. My mom said, "But you'll only work one day a week!" We all know that isn't true but, even if it was, today felt like an entire month packed into one day. And I still have to go back for the Church Christmas party tonight.

One of the families paid for and had installed new carpet in the nursery. However that didn't sit well with one of the "Banes" or her daughter. Of course, the issue wasn't the lovely new carpet, rather it was misdirected, misplaced anger over the merger. The daughter was not speaking to anyone today. Which didn't sit well with another parishioner who challenged her about it and said if she wasn't there to worship she should leave so the rest could worship in peace. During the Passing of the Peace the daughter totally snubbed me and turned away. She, also, left the sanctuary prior to the Eucharist.

Have you ever stood in the pulpit, preaching the Word of God, and felt like you were being crucified in the minds of some sitting out in the sanctuary (which didn't feel like a sanctuary today)? Have you ever wondered why it only takes one or two to ruin the mood of a church worship experience? Have you ever come home from church with a splitting headache?

No wonder Jesus went off by himself to pray so often.....people are a pain in the %$*.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Birthday Party

This is what is like at my house on "Birthday Party Day".

1. Spend four straight hours cleaning, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, rearranging furniture.

2. Family arrives.

3. All the men and kids head outside and play football in the cold.

4. Track in mud and leaves back into clean house.

5. Sing Happy Birthday.

6. Cut the cake and cake crumbs end up everywhere.

7. At least one fight.

8. Almost everyone leaves....always some cousins decide to spend the night.

9. Quiet descends on a dirty house.

10. Oh well, I don't have to clean it again until we invite more company and start the cycle all over again.

Happy Birthday, baby.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Taking Time to Rest i.e. Sabbath

My blog friend Brian has an interesting post going at his site about importance of clergy taking Sabbath time:

After seminary, I designated Friday as my Sabbath and I have tried really hard to stick to it. Today, I planned on taking time for myself. First, I tried to sleep late....doorbell rang and woke me up. Then I tried to work rang and I had to go pick out new carpet for the nursery. And then, of course, go and move all the nursery furniture out so that the carpet installer's could install said carpet.

Usually the worst offender for violating my time off is the head of my SPRC. Today she is totally innocent. I wonder if it is harder for a small town pastor to be left alone then for a big city pastor. In this area, it is totally acceptable for a person to just show up on your doorstep without calling first, which happens with regularity.

As an introvert, I crave time alone. Time with just myself and my God in prayer, in reflection. I hate the idea of having to leave my home in order to be alone.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


At exactly, 12:15 a.m. my girl child turned thirteen. Since she was born, I have left the corporate world and entered into the ministry, went from no college education to working on my doctorate, went from being married to being divorced, went from being a non-Christian to being Christian.

We have grown up together (which is a sad commentary on where I was before she was born). God has truly blessed me and I truly believe that even when she is having a very grouchy morning like yesterday. I never expected to have children...the doctor's said that I wouldn't. So she was a surprise and filled me with sheer terror. I had never even changed a diaper before she was born.

I had, however, raised and trained dogs for most of my life. I never knew how much that influenced my raising of Ryss until one day when she was just learning to walk. I wanted her to follow me and I slapped my thigh and said, "Come" while making the kissy noise that calls dogs. Now before you crucify me, I don't think that is an altogether bad thing. Raising/training dogs and raising children call for some similar components....consistency, discipline, your time, and most of all love.

Her birthday party is Saturday and I took her to buy her birthday clothes on Monday (she is very, very picky about what she wears). So tonight it will be just the two of us (which it has been since she was 18 month's old), I am making Cornish hens for dinner. Plus, I got up at 5:30 to make her favorite breakfast--pancakes.

I still feel sheer terror sometimes and an overwhelming love all the time. Frustration occasionally, irritation more often and exhaustion on a regular basis but I am so very glad that the doctor's were wrong because this has been a wonderful thirteen years.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lazy, Lazy, Lazy

It's too much work to stand and eat....must lay down!


Tonight we are having an information meeting with the pastor from the other small Methodist Church. We are going to try and answer any questions that my parishioner's may have about the possible merger. I know from a business viewpoint that the merger is the best thing that can happen for both churches. From an emotional viewpoint (which will be almost all of my parishioners), this is a devastating blow. They are already reacting in certain ways. Can you guess how?? (Tithing reached an all time low)

We almost didn't have enough money in the bank to pay me this month, which was not tied to the attendance at all. We've actually had pretty good attendance so far this month. Of course, Christmas is a hard time for everyone and is especially bad this month and this year.

I am going to work out with my personal trainer this morning and then spending the afternoon making Christmas presents and working on my sermon. Hopefully, this will keep my mind off the meeting so that I don't get an upset stomach worrying.

Ryss missed her first day of school yesterday. Her birthday is this week and I took her to Dallas to go shopping. I don't even try to buy clothes for her anymore. I would never get the right size or the right color or the right anything. You gotta luv 'em.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tragedy in Omaha

Whenever something happens like what happened at the mall in Omaha, we watch the news, we cry, we pray but I wonder if there isn't more that we can do. We all heard about the childhood of this young man and being bounced around in foster care. I am considering becoming a foster mom. I worry about it because as a Methodist pastor I couldn't offer the stability of a home in a permanent location---itineracy does have some downsides.

MoreCows talked about counseling a young man who was being bullied at school. And I wonder if we couldn't develop some program to help with situations like that....I'm just thinking out loud about making a difference. I mean isn't that why most of us answered this peculiar calling?

My 92 year old parishioner made it through the surgery with flying colors. They did have to remove a portion of her colon but she didn't even need any pain meds last night. While I was ministering to that family another branch of the same family came into the emergency room. So I got to shuffle back and forth between the two groups. Both are recovering right now.

I was given the name of a UMC pastor in California who is just finishing up his D.Min. project over a similar topic as mine. He was so very helpful and talked to me for almost an hour. Gave me several ideas and, even better, several books that will help. So I ordered them as soon as we got off the phone and I can't wait until I get them. They help you tailor your prayer life (or that of your small groups) based on your Meyer-Briggs type. He told me, based on my type, that I would most closely identify with Ignatius of Loyola and Francis of Assisi. My gospel writer is Matthew. I definitely agreed with the Francis assessment (I have written several papers over Francis and his order). But not with the Matthew assessment----Mark is my favorite gospel writer. He did say that I would like James the brother of Jesus. And I do. "Faith without works is dead"....who doesn't love that?

I tried to start a Bible Study over the James Spiegel book on Christian virtues. However, after the group reviewed the book, they decided that it was too hard for them to read. (See me.....biting my tongue....refusing to comment.....)

Well, I'm spending my afternoon decorating the Christmas float for the Ladies Club.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I have to spend tomorrow at the hospital with a 92-year-old woman having colon surgery. Having dropped out of Nursing School I have no right to second guess the doctors, but I'm going to anyway. At 92, I wonder about the ability of her body to recover from not only the surgery but also the anesthetic. Say a prayer for her tomorrow as you go through your day.

The Conference Registrar sent me an email today confirming the receipt of my commissioning packet. It's good to know that it isn't lost in the mail somewhere. Most of my friends all drive four hours (each way) to personally deliver their packets. I'm much to cheap to spend that kind of gas and time.

Monday, December 3, 2007


Another Monday...another basketball game. Ryss's team won and she made most of the points. She plays the point position and is really good. I've come to realize that I get way into the game.....much to much yelling going on. Have managed not to yell anything at the ref's yet.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

Worship with Eucharist and an Infant baptism....good, good and awesome. (Advent is an interesting time for a Muslim to visit a Methodist Church....lot's of mentions of Israel and Zion. Hmmm.......)

Decorating the church.... all done (nothing got broken).

Christmas Pageant.... very funny.

Four churches eating together..... best of all (Plus, we had enough food for everyone.....didn't expect that many people to show for the pageant and really didn't expect almost all of them to stay for dinner. It was awesome.)

Mental state...good.
Physical state....exhausted with District meeting tomorrow. There should be a rule against district meetings during Advent. Aren't we all busy enough?!!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Questions and Confessions

Tonight I am preparing for the first Christmas party of the season. It is with the Ladies Club and, of course, requires that I bring a gift. Now don't get me wrong, I love giving and receiving gifts at Christmas. However, it becomes extremely expensive if you add them all up. As a pastor in a small community, I get invited to several events. I'm sure that many of you have great ideas about getting through this season without going broke. I need them and I need them now. Please remember that I'm not that into cooking, which is another issue. I'm expected to be the pastor and the pastor's wife all rolled into one person, frustrating to say the least.

Another aspect of the season is parades, every little town in the area has them. I skipped one today. That's my confession. Between the church and all the civic organizations and Ryss's different activities, I would be working on parade floats 24/7. I skipped, I confess I skipped, and I don't feel sorry that I skipped. However, I will be there next week-end working on a float for the Ladies Club. Ryss is going to play the Virgin Mary. She has the coloring for a realistic Mary, if not the temperament.

Tomorrow the church will have a special visitor. One of my parishioner's sister is married to a Sheik from Jordon and they are both coming to the worship service. My fingers are crossed that my people are on their very best behavior. One of my member's and I have a debate every time that Islam is mentioned. She says that it was a mixture of all the different religions in the Middle East and I remind her that Christianity has many aspects of other religions mixed in our belief system. My B.S. is in Medieval History and I understand syncretism. She says it is different for Christians because our religion is based on Jesus Christ. Care to wade into the debate...........