Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I'm preaching over the Prodigal Son on Sunday. I've passed out rolls, flicked mustard seeds at my congregation. Any suggestions for this sermon?? Maybe ears of corn.....

Personal Trainer

Today I met with my very own personal trainer. She guided my work-out and my legs were so shaky I couldn't hardly walk. When we first started talking I told her all that was going on in my life and that I couldn't possible start before December 19th (when all my commissiong paperwork is due). She said you will always have an excuse for not working out, just do it. So I did, and I'm glad.

Working on my own I have only lost ten pounds over the last three months. Will keep you updated on how well it works.

Monday, October 29, 2007


My conference has a custom made computer program/system to track appointments, charge conference paperwork, commissioning, and ordination paperwork. They named it DOVE, which is an oxymoron or just a stake in the eye. It is probably one of the most frustrating systems that I have ever worked on--and I've been working with computers since it was all DOS. I've taken computer programing. I've tutored at the college level in Microsoft Office.

They have every single piece of paperwork filed under a different file, which to me, seems like a complete waste of files. And they are named very unusually, it is frustrating.

I can only imagine what people who have limited computer skills are feeling, especially local pastors who may or may not even have church computers and definitely won't have any office help.

What is especially frustrating is that we have to fill the charge conference paperwork out on-line, then print it out and submit it manually also. So it isn't saving trees or time.

Maybe Ozzy had it right back in the 80's --- just bite the heads off of those DOVE's.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Buns, Anyone?

Well, I didn't throw them at anyone but I did pass out rolls to the congregation today in honor of Martin Luther. The sermon had a lot of heads nodding out in the congregation--always a good sign. I was exhausted and allergies were playing havoc with my sinuses. Medication dries me out so bad that it becomes hard to speak. I came home and took a two hour nap.

I woke up last night thinking that someone was suffocating me, you would have thought that I would have just opened my mouth to breath. I blaming it on the cat. Ryss spent the night somewhere else and so the cats and the dogs slept with me. I might have to go from a full-size bed to a King-size if this keeps up.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Exhausted.... float was a success, 20 cases of water passed out (quite a hit BTW, although some people looked at me like a was trying to give them poison -- what's the deal with that?), quilters set-up and then put-up.

And then had to go to a family thing (two family member's birthday party; one turned 1 and the other turned 62). It was cute but I was too tired to really enjoy being with my family.

My references for commissioning finally received their official forms. I was getting worried and called the testing center. The woman in charge said that they were mailed out last Saturday. Hmmmm.... they were postmarked Thursday. Wasn't there something in the Bible about being trusted in/with the small things?!?

My Commissioning Bible Study is over First Corinthians. Any insights would be appreciated.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bishop Willimon

Bishop Willimon has an interesting post on his blog about sermon feedback. I thought you guys might like to read it.


This is the first Friday that I have been free to devote the entire day (well most of it) to the Festival. I have had a blast and I am exhausted. Tomorrow, I ride on the float. Yes, the float is finished and looks very cool. The Free water is stationed at strategic places around the fair grounds. And won't even need to be iced until later in the day because it will be cold tonight. And even though I was perturbed at that certain group in my church, I called and asked if I could set up there canopy and tables at the fair grounds. And they happily agreed. Nuff, said.

October-An Important Month

The month of October is an important month-- It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I had my annual Mammogram yesterday. I love the college girls who are selling the T-Shirt with two softballs on the front which says "Save Second Base" or the slogan "Save the Ta-Ta's".
Click on this link http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/ If 150 people click on the site every day the sponsors will donate a free mammogram. It doesn't take but a couple of seconds and costs you nothing.

It is Domestic Violence Prevention Month. This is a ministry that every church should be involved in. Have you preached about Domestic Violence this month? Have you talked to your children about this topic? Knowledge is power.

It is Book Lovers Month. Hurray for that. Gotta luv the books. I am currently reading "The Intellectual Devotional". It says it will "Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education and Converse Confidently about our Nation's Past". I am on Day 6, only one year to go before I am completely REVIVED. :)

It is, also, the month when you can send money to UNICEF. For more information visit www.unicefusa.org/trickortreat You can dress up for a good cause and help provide clean water, vaccines, nutrition and education to "all the little children of the world".

So see, it is an important month in a lot of different ways. I am thinking about declaring it my favorite month but I don't want all the other months to have their feeling's hurt. It is a huge dilemma.

Friday Five

My decorations are pretty lame this year.

1. How did you celebrate this time of year when you were a child?

We always dressed up but it was always a huge costume that allowed all of the coats to be wore underneath the costume.

2. Do you and/or your family “celebrate” Halloween? Why or why not? And if you do, has it changed from what you used to do?

We did but the child is too old to actually Trick-or-Treat so this year she is doing the UNICEF Trick or Treating. I thought it was a neat idea. My cousin goes all out, so tomorrow we are having a huge birthday part that is Halloween themed.

2. Candy apples: Do you prefer red cinnamon or caramel covered? Or something else?


3. Pumpkins: Do you make Jack O’ Lanterns? Any ideas of what else to do with them?

We have to paint them here. We tried to carve them but the heat and humidity cause them to melt into a pile of goo.

After the holidays, we feed them to the horse that lives next to us. They love pumpkins (and sweet potatoes)

4. Do you decorate your home for fall or Halloween? If so, what do you do? Bonus points for pictures.
See lame picture above. That is the extent of our decorations this year, so far. It has been so hectic plus, I'm a bit of a coward. We used to go all out. The yard, the outside of the house, the inside of the house. My storage box for my Halloween decorations used to be bigger than the Christmas box. When I was appointed here, the powers that controlled the church let it be known that Halloween was satanic. I didn't agree but it was politically expedient to cut back on the decorations.

5. Do you like pretending to be something different? Does a costume bring our an alternate personality?

Nope.....My alternate personality comes out at different times of the year. Although......I have a blonde wig.

Bonus: Share your favorite recipe for an autumn food, particularly apple or pumpkin ones.
We tried to make Barbara Kingsolver's Pumpkin Soup. It was okay. Eating it in the pumpkin was cool but we really liked the soup before it ever went into the pumpkin.

My favorite thing to eat this time of year is Pumpkin pie.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


We won our football game by a touchdown. Only the 7th-8th grade team played though, the JV team had to pretty much disband because so many of them failed Algebra. Told you the school's priorities were skewed.

Chilly Night for Football

I know that all ya'll folks in the North will laugh but it was cold tonight at the football game. It will get down close to 40 tonight, brrrrrrr.

Much accomplished today. Between parade floats, D.Min. papers, sermons, charge conference, and commissioning stuff, I haven't had a chance to breath. Throw in a dash of Jr. High football and life is busy.

I am finding it hard to turn it all off at night. I keep working on commissioning stuff late into the night. It is hard finding balance right now.

Bye for now....must run to the school and pick up daughter.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


There was an error on the checklist for Probationary Elder/Commissiong from the conference. I tried and tried to get it resolved, finally got my mentor involved. Yes, my mentor is cool. I assigned him to myself. The conference never did it after my last one moved so I just put him down as my mentor.

Received email tonight that was sent to all persons going through the process, that there was an error. I sent my first email about the issue over one week ago. Apparently it only counts if an Elder reports said error.

It reminds me of boot camp. The trainee's aren't really treated as human beings. And I understand why the military does it, but it is a little difficult to take when it is the church. I wonder if it is a form of bureaucratic hazing??

Between dealing with that all day and the charge conference computer program.... it was frustrating. However, Bible Study was wonderful. We finished the water re-labeling program for Saturday and completed a lot of the sign preparation for the float.

It is great the way the Bible study group is coming together a true covenant group. It is good to see that everything isn't as bad as it felt last night.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ten p.m.

I am coming to really dislike Tuesdays. We haven't really heard from the Head Bane and all the little Bane's of my existence in a while, but they all meet on Tuesdays. And today they decided that they were too tired to have our annual float in the parade. And have started calling people drumming up support for their decision to quit. Do they call me? No, of course not, so I don't get the call about all this until 10 p.m.

Of course, they waited until the last minute to start kicking up a fuss. We have already spend money on the decorations, announced it to everyone, advertised, etc. We have labeled 20 cases of free water to pass out.

Now the kicker is this...they have never helped with the float before. This will be my fourth year. They only thing they do is show up and climb on. Well, I got news for them--we are doing a float even if it is just a little red wagon pulled by yours truly.

And before you ask, I have already moved my wrist band for complaining. But I thought that the top of my head might explode.

What do you do when people don't want to DO anything? And not only that, they don't want ANYONE ELSE TO DO ANYTHING. They think that people should just show up at our doors every Sunday because it is sitting there. I totally agree with the statement that "being a pastor is like being pecked to death by ducks".

Happy Birthday

My littlest baby turns One today. For those of you who don't have pets maybe it seems crazy but they are a joy to millions of us and I can't express the joy that mine bring to me. So sing Happy Birthday to Lucien Trinity a.k.a. Lucifer or Luke today.

Bridwell Library

I spent all day today at Bridwell Library at SMU-Perkins. My thanks to Clyde who helped me dig through Microfiche and other stuff. What was really amazing about my trip today was the fact that I did not get irritated by any of the other drivers. This is truly amazing. I think it was because I was so busy composing two of my D.Min. papers in my head and working on a better intro and ending to my Commissioning sermon. Dallas traffic is never a pleasant experience but this trip wasn't bad at all.

However, spending an entire day researching at the Library makes the rest of my weekly duties seem like I'm playing catch-up the rest of the week. But I am not feeling guilty because I know that I won't have a day off until next week sometime.

We are honoring the mighty Sweet Potato this week-end and our little, little community will swell to over 3,000 as visitors pour in. Now keep in mind that we only have 800 telephone numbers with our prefix. It means a big jump. We might even have a traffic jam or two.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Definition of Love

Now don't expect this to be about some deep theological truth about the love God has for us. Nope, it's about a Mom getting up before the sun is up to make pancakes for her daughter. Daughter is running in a District Cross-Country race this morning. And I got up and made her pancakes so that she would have a good carb load for the race later. Trust me when I say that getting up and cooking is one my least favorite things in the ENTIRE world. Ah....the things we do for our kids.

I am, also, going and sitting in the cold and rain because I have been anointed the picture taker for the team--yearbook photos are needed. Of course, I would be there anyway so it is good to have an official function.

It was not, however, a good sign when we pulled up to the school and there are cops everywhere. They were only letting the Cross Country team enter the school grounds. Apparently, the school was broken into over the week-end. Ryss exclaimed, "Cool, Mom, look forensics!!" They were fingerprinting doors.

I am still in a very, very good mood this morning (and, I am not a morning person). It is amazing what preaching a sermon with the aid of the Holy Spirit can do for a persons attitude. I believe that the Holy Spirit is with me when I prepare many of my sermons but yesterday was powerful. I could hear people talking amongst themselves as they left the sanctuary about the sermon and the preaching..... and it was all GOOD.

Well, I am off to sit in the rain and the cold, cold wind (I'm a lightweight when it comes to tolerating cold).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Today's Sermon

Two pictures that describe my entire day yesterday. Can you see why I need a huge recliner? Need I say more??
Today, when I was listening to the Children's message, I had an inspiration for the sermon. I went with it, worked it into to my sermon and it went great, better than great, fantastic.
Now for many of you that will not be something new, however, I am not really spontaneous when it comes to my sermons. Actually, I am very meticulous. I have sat through some absolutely horrible sermons because preachers didn't follow their manuscript or outline. And they got lost and confusing.
I can only give praise to the Holy Spirit, because I truly wouldn't have done it without the prompting of the Spirit. Wow, in the last month, I have walked around the sanctuary while preaching and now this.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Garage Sale

Today was the "Historic Highway 80 Garage Sale", extending from Mississippi to Grand Prairie Texas. Ryss and I spent a couple of hours exploring the different places, looking for unique or unusual things. It was some good quality time. We didn't really buy much (a seasoned cast iron skillet for me and a necklace for Ryss). I did get an old army ammo box. I haven't decided what to store in it but it looked useful.

We stopped for BBQ at the end of the trail. So now, my stomach is full and I am feeling lazy and contented. Her BFF is spending the night and they are using my laptop playing some kind of "Zoo Tycoon" game.

Do any of my watch the television show "Numbers"? It showed a perverted use of the Stations of the Cross last night. It really bothered me. I usually have no problem separating fiction and real life but I love the Stations of the Cross. And I absolutely hated seeing them used this way. Maybe I'm getting old.

Good news on my "No-Complaining" project. I have very well today. Of course, I stayed home most of the day so maybe it doesn't count. I have noticed that I very aware of what is coming out of my mouth and I'm even changing the band when I think a complaint. I have already switched my wrist band for this complaint so I'm sharing it with you.

I work very hard to have the bulletin finished by Wednesday so that I can give it to all necessary parties that night at Bible Study. Well, my lay leader has not been coming to Bible Study (she is very over-extended). It is getting later and later when she wants the scripture for Sunday Services. It's a problem because she has to practice it before Sunday. I tried to replace her this year at the Nominations Committee meeting, but I had other issues with the Trustee Chair and didn't pay it enough attention. My bad.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Beautiful Drive

This morning I got up (note I say got up because there was no sleep last night), drove 100 miles to give a talk over Prevenient Grace. I wish that I had brought a camera along because I saw some interesting signs.

First, Liberty UMC followed by LITTLE HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH and bringing up the rear Harmony UMC. I'm sure that if my mind wasn't totally on the fritz I would have a comment about that. It may come later. Feel free to give your insights.

Some of the roads along the way; Ant Road, Alligator Road, Bluebell Road (made me want ice cream), Groundhog Road, Jaguar Road. My county has just numbers. It was fun being somewhere with names for their roads.

At my destination, the town was in the middle of a parade for their Annual Harvest Festival (honoring a root). I noticed something very strange. A good portion of the parents were walking their kids back to the car, but the child was on the road side (in traffic). I still put myself between Ryss and traffic. I found it very odd. Some of those kids were little bitty.

The massive amount of traffic made my No-Complaining project very tough but I only had to switch the braclet a couple of times (each way).

Ryss went with my home church to a concert last night--Casting Crowns. She spent all of her baby-sitting money on T-Shirts, got home and they were all the wrong size. Tough lesson about checking what the salesperson hands you.

I put a roast in the crockpot and the ingredients for bread in the Bread Machine. So now I'm going to mow the church yard. It is a beautiful day. I would love to just walk and see the sights, like Jo(e) does http://writingasjoe.blogspot.com/ However, duty calls.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Quick Note

This No-Complaining thing is much harder than I imagined. I, apparently, am fine until forced into close proximity with; 1) Other people, 2) Other Drivers. The complaint doesn't always leave my mouth but it is lurking at the top of my brain.

Have not received any feedback on my sermon.... show some mercy, say something.

Left-Brain or Right-Brain

Brain Type Test - Free Results=http://www.testcafe.com/lbrb/lbrb.html

Are You Left-Brained or Right-Brained?
Although one side of the brain is generally dominant over the other, we should strive to utilize both halves. A balanced brain makes a balanced person - combining sequential thinking with a holistic approach, or linear thinking with intuition, enables us to fully comprehend issues and solve problems. Left-brainers can dramatically improve their problem solving abilities by learning to "follow their gut," while right-brainers can improve the execution of their creative efforts.

Realizing your dominant half is the first step in becoming balance-brained.
Your percentage score for the left brain is 65%.Your percentage score for the right brain is 35%.
You are more left-brained than right-brained. Your left brain controls the right side of your body. In addition to being known as left-brained, you are also known as a critical thinker who uses logic and sense to collect information. You are able to retain this information through the use of numbers, words, and symbols. You usually only see parts of the "whole" picture, but this is what guides you step-by-step in a logical manner to your conclusion. Concise words, numerical and written formulas and technological systems are often forms of expression for you. Some occupations usually held by a left-brained person include a lab scientist, banker, judge, lawyer, mathematician, librarian, and skating judge.

Your left brain/right brain percentage was calculated by combining the individual scores of each half's sub-categories. They are as follows:
Left Brain
Right Brain

Each of these 12 categories has its own distinctive influence in shaping how you think, learn, and perceive the world around you.

A Complaint Free World

I watched a Today Show interview yesterday about Will Bowen who has led his church and now the world on a crusade to end complaining. I'm not sure that it will be overly successful because, let's face it, we like to complain. The Hebrews did it in the desert and we've been doing it ever since. But it seems like a nice idea. So I'm going to try to do it, also. It won't be easy though because I have a church full of complainers. (hmmm... does that qualify as complaining-this might be more difficult than I thought).


If nothing else, it will be an interesting experiment.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tornado Watch

We are currently under a tornado watch. And being the OCD kind of person that I am, I always turn off the computer and unplug it from the wall. Yes, Yes, I have surge protectors but I absolutely hate the idea of frying my computer. So I won't be able to read your comments about my sermon, but I am dying to know what you all think.

I spent a couple of hours reading A.J. Jacobs new book "The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible". I was laughing so hysterically that Lucien started howling, I think he thought I was being attacked. I think that any pastor who is interested in reaching secular, unchurched people should read this book. It really gives a different perspective on religion. Plus, his account of being locked in the bathroom was hilarious. I ran to check if I could escape from mine and decided that I am obviously more mechanical than Jacobs because I would have taken the hinges off the door (Yes, the pin is ON the inside).

I love his quote on page 166 about the biblical mandate of leaving gleanings. "It's a beautiful and compassionate rule. Plus, the commandment rewards people for doing a half-assed job, which I think is a nice notion." I would never have interpreted it like that and besides it was all about his trying to grow cucumbers, which I can totally relate to since my bell peppers have only yielded one.

Another interesting things is watching his prayer life evolve. I'm only 1/2 way through so I don't know how it will turn out, but it is awesome so far. I just finished with Lee Strobel's book "Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary" last night. It would be interesting to know if Lee has read A.J.'s book and what he thought about it.


First I want to say Hi to Steve. Welcome!!

Now I am have finished my Commissioning Sermon. I am going to preach over the Prodigal Son. I thought that you guys might want to read and maybe even make suggestions. So here goes.

Have you ever wanted to ask God the question – what if I mess up, what if I’m not perfect? There is a popular song that asks – “what if I stumble what if I fall, what if I lose my step and make fools of us all, will the love continue when the walk becomes a crawl, what if I stumble and what if I fall?” (DC Talk) The story of the prodigal son helps us answer that question. Love of the creator for the created is shown throughout the entire Bible but it is here in this story we can so clearly see ourselves and the love of God.

In ancient times just as now, conventional wisdom says don’t give your children their inheritance until you die. But this father doesn’t follow convention and gives the son his inheritance. Nowhere does it say that the son was a bad, immoral or evil young man. He may have left his dad’s place with the very best of intentions. Planning on going to Alexandria or Rome (Dallas, New York, LA) or wherever and make his mark. No one usually plans on failing but as so often happens we make a mistake and it leads us down a path we never intended.

We fall in with the wrong crowd, make foolish investments of our time and money – whatever it is we just mess up. And I think that’s what happened with this boy. He didn’t plan ahead, didn’t budget his money, and definitely didn’t spend it wisely. And ended up feeding the pigs. Which in Jewish storytelling meant you had sunk as far as you could possibly go. And not only was he feeding the pigs, he had fallen so low he wanted to steal their food. Can we relate to falling that far?

Well, let’s consider. A few years ago, thousands of young, upstanding men got a slip of paper from the government telling them where to report for induction into the military. They had just been drafted to fight the war in Vietnam. Most didn’t want to go but went anyway. They left their dreams and families and went to war. But when some of them came home, they couldn’t pick back up those dreams and go back to those families because of the affect that the war had on their psyche. They came home to boo’s and hisses, being spit on in the airports and many came home after watching their friends die horrible deaths and many more came home addicted to drugs.

And some failed to integrate back into society; ending up on the street, begging for food, begging for money, sleeping in cardboard boxes. They had reached the very bottom, they could fall no lower. And this is the point of no return, this is when they can choose to stay at the bottom or not. Kind of like the philosophy of the 12-step programs, they had to decide to stay down or get up. And many of them chose to get up and when they stretched out their hands to their Father, he reached out and embraced them through the arms of a drug counselor who cared, a volunteer at a soup kitchen, an aid worker at a homeless shelter or a church. The Father welcomed them back into the loving arms of the family.

Like the prodigal son, they were restored to life. Refined by fire they were stronger than before because they had chosen to return of their own free will. Now what about the ones that never left – like the older brother? He was really upset with his father wasn’t he? This wasn’t fair. Where is the justice in this story, but this isn’t a story about justice but a story about grace. The grace of a God for a wayward people, Our God.

I think of the older brother as a church member who has grown up in the church but hasn’t ever really had it touch his spirit. Not bad or evil but begrudging. Why give something to the poor, they aren’t going to increase our membership, why send our money to help those foreigners we need it here more. Why kill the fatted calf for the ones who weren’t perfect and made a mistake? I think that if we are honest we can really all relate to the older brother. He is kind of like Martha and resents being the only one working. He misunderstood, and often so do we, that God’s love is limitless. God doesn’t run out of love, we aren’t in competition for a finite amount of grace and love. There is enough for all of us.

In a few years, it could be the younger brother standing there passing judgment on some body else that has made a mistake. You really hope not, you hope that he would have been so changed by his experience that he would always be like that moment when he first stepped into his father’s embrace. But those feelings seem to wear off pretty quick sometimes. We tend to forget our mistakes pretty easily sometimes don’t we? And like the Pharisees and scribes in the beginning of Luke 15 our common response is criticism and self-righteousness. The Pharisees and scribes – the wise, learned, and righteously religious of Jesus’ day would certainly have seen themselves in good company when they grumbled and said, “this fellow Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Now that is an accusation worth listening to – why would anyone in good standing want to hang around with “tax collectors and sinners?” These people were the biblical version of our own smelly, drug and alcohol addicted street people, and our corporate thieves who fatten themselves while their employees lose all hope of retirement. Not exactly the best company to cultivate and common wisdom strongly suggests that such company will draw us down to their level. Jesus, of all people, should have known that he would be far better off shunning those unacceptable people and spending his time with those who clearly sought higher things. But fortunately for us, God doesn’t think or reason the way that we do.

So let’s take all of this a step further and imagine that the Father in the story is God, the church is the older brother, or Pharisees or scribes and we are the younger son. Remember this verse out of John – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son”. A sacrifice was made, blood was spilled during this reconciliation between the father and the wayward child. The sacrifice of the fatted calf illustrates the blood that was shed that day on Calvary – for you and for me. Blood that was shed to reconcile us with God. Listen to what Paul said in today’s New Testament lesson.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (NIV)
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Sometimes, we need to remember grace and forgiveness. Through the sacrifice that Christ made for us we were reconciled with our God and creator just as the prodigal son was reconciled with his father. We are not called to judge our brother because we are our brother. We are called to reach out to the fallen and help them get back up on their feet and reinforce their strength with our own so that they can reach out to God.

We can be any one of the characters in this parable, the prodigal son, the father, the elder brother, the Pharisees and scribes or even the man who gave the prodigal a job during a time of economic downturn – to use modern language. During our times of famine we are called to reach out to those who have stumbled or even fallen. This isn’t a story of judgment but a story of forgiveness, a story of reconciliation and a story that God has enough love to go around. So no matter who we are in the story and I believe that we are all the characters at one time or another in our lives, we can know that God has enough love for all of us and grace and forgiveness if we stumble or fall and make fools out of ourselves.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Book Quiz

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
WhatKind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz


Ryss is still collecting pecans. She has picked a huge sack of them already. She wants to sell them. I wanted to give them away. Well, I really didn't want them to go to waste in my backyard. Although, Lucien is having a blast eating them, which probably is not good for him either (reminds me of the frog incident).
She washed this batch because they had mud on them from yesterday's storms. Did she clean up the mud that she tracked in the house? No, of course not. That would be a chore and not a money-making proposition. You gotta love 'em!

Smog, Smog, Smog

Yesterday, bloggers tried to raise awareness of environmental issues. Today, when I was driving home from taking my Psych evaluation. I saw huge piles of wood on fire. This is courtesy of the Great State of Texas. They are doubling the capacity of a 10 mile stretch of highway, which is really necessary. However, I counted 8 piles of trees on fire in 1 mile. So if one averages the piles of wood then between 70 & 80 log piles are being burned to widen this stretch of highway. And believe me when I say, this particular pile was already significantly burned down when I got the picture. It was like driving through fog. Surely, with all of the emphasis on emissions control in my state, we could come up with a different way to dispose of the wood. I mean, after all, one of my state's exports is wood. We have loggers all over the place. Seems like they would want this wood. Some of those trees were huge. Anyway, just a thought.
I completed the written part of my Psych evaluation today. 325 little circles successfully darkened with a #2 pencil. It totally inflamed my carpal tunnel or something. But the little voices in my head said that I did just fine on the thing ---just joking. No really but someone IS out to get me. ;-) This is like my 4th time to take it or one like it, so far, it has said that I am normal. Keep your fingers crossed, I would hate for this one to say something different. I wonder when these tests were first instituted in my Annual Conference? It would be interesting to test all the ones who came before and see where they fall along the sane continuum.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Environmental Blog Day

I did not do much for the environment today. I did buy groceries and bought as much locally grown and organic food that I could. Plus, picked about 10 pounds of pecans that the storm knocked off my trees. We did pass a resolution at the church a couple of Admin Councils ago to switch our light bulbs to the CFL's, so as a regular one burns out we switch. Like buying organic, going green is more expensive initially but pays off down the road.

Today was a fifteen hour work-day. I did not finish my last counseling session until 9:30 tonight. I spent much of today on Charge Conference paperwork. My conference has everything routed through a "new" computer system. I love technology but it is supposed to make life easier and this system is not user friendly. It takes 4-5 minutes for each screen to load (which makes the entire process slow and cumbersome) and then when they do you need a magnifying glass to read them. And when you print the final copy off, the print is gigantic. I actually read a book today between the screen loads -- over five hundred pages. And I'm still not finished with Charge Conference paperwork. But I started early and have a month before my charge conference, so it should work out.

Tomorrow will be just as busy. I remember when I first told my family I was going to be a pastor. My mother exclaimed, "You are getting a job that you only work one day a week!?!" That hasn't materialized.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Last year at the church garage sale, I bought a set of golf clubs. Now you understand that I cannot play golf, have never played golf and really had very little interest in playing golf. What I do want to do is get in on all of those "good old boy" conversations that are had while they are playing golf. There is a fair amount of politicking that goes on at the golf course. It seemed inherently unfair to me, so now, I own a set of golf clubs.

Which have not helped me at all, because I have no time to learn to play golf. So I am informing all of my blogger pals that I intend to learn golf, someday. Perhaps that will inspire me to get out there.

I only have two more 3rd person Critical Book Reviews to go. Yeah! I really think that my decision to not try and finish my D.Min. in two years but to go with the three year plan was for the best. I would have been at wit's end trying to do all of these papers, get commissioning paperwork submitted and getting ready for a new semester in January. I think it was just pride and the tendency to overwork that made me want to get it done in two years.

I loved today's Gospel lesson. It is not often that you can make the comparison between your church and Nine Lepers. I received a lot of comments about the sermon and, so far, all have been favorable. The way I look at it, if you are mad, check to see if the shoe fits.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dog Lover

As you know, I love dogs. I love fat dogs, skinny dogs, young dogs and old dogs. I especially love my dogs and Lucien A.K.A. Lucifer is a great dog. He actually talks to me. Most often when he wants to share the recliner or bed with me, it is great and usually hilarious. However, he did something yesterday that totally grossed me out. He ate a Frog. I was worried because I wasn't sure if frogs are poisonous. However, the frog that Lucifer ate was not of the poisonous variety (Thank God) or if it was Luke obviously has a cast-iron stomach.

You might wonder, "Does she have nothing better to do than write about a dog eating frogs?" Well, of course, I do. However, I am bored. Which I cannot admit to my daughter, because in our house if you admit to that particular state of mind you have to clean the garage. I did not clean the garage, but I did pull the weeds in front of the parsonage some that were taller than me.

The problem is all of these Critical Book Reviews. I wish that I would have known about them when assigned the reading of the book. Then I could have read the book, written about the book and been done with the book. It is unusual that I like almost all the books assigned in a particular semester. And I really did like most of these or found them relevant to the topic. The biggest problem that I'm having is the concept of writing in the 3rd person which is required by the professor. This reader/author finds that this is a particularly boring way of writing and communicating about a topic. This reader wants to say, "I loved this book because....." or "I hated this book because...." And apparently, this reader is overly fond of the plural form "we" or "us" or "their". With that said, this writer need to quit bitchin' and get back to work. She only has three more to go.

Cross Country

Well, Ryss ran her first cross country meet today. There were around fifty schools participating. It was alot of kids. She came in 67th out of 96 in her division. And 1st out of the other girls from her school. She even came in before some of the Jr.High boys who started five minutes earlier than the girls. With all of that said, I'm proud of her.

She did the running and I did the cheering. Am exhausted--must nap. Cheering those kids over the finish line is draining.

I was up late last night praying for one of our High School boys. He was hit during the football game and Care-Flighted to BigCity Hospital. I have received word that he is doing fine. As I watch more and more boys injured during football, I am convinced that this game is unnecessary but since I live in the "Friday Night Lights" state I remain in the minority. However, last year we poured literally 100's of thousands of dollars into the football program (which for a small school is ridiculous) and our Science test scores have fallen from the previous years scores. I wonder, do we really have our priorities straight??

Friday, October 12, 2007


I planned on writing another paper today. One a day, that was my goal. However, I am having problems getting motivated today. I want my new book by AJ Jacobs "A Year Living Biblically" to come in. Of course, I only ordered it ten minutes ago on-line so that is a little unrealistic. I have certain issues with instant gratification when it comes to books.

Today is my sabbath day and I know that tomorrow is going to be jam packed with stuff but I still want to write that paper. I think I will take a break. Oh I know, I'm going to read the Bible without any ulterior motives, just to read it. Yippee!

Friday Five

Does everyone remember the old Sunday School song?The B-I-B-L-E,Oh, that's the book for me.I take my stand on the Word of God,The B-I-B-L-E.I have been working on an expansive language version of the Psalms and the Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office/Breviary. (For you non-liturgical gals and pals, that's a set of prayers for morning, noon, evening, etc., mostly consisting of Psalms and other biblical texts).So I have been thinking a lot about the Bible recently, and how we encounter it as God's Word--or don't--in our lives, prayer, and ministry. (Great minds think somewhat alike this week, as yesterday's Ask The Matriarch post dealt with ways to help as many people in a community as possible engage with a scriptural text in preparation for Sunday worship).So, in that spirit, I offer my first Friday Five. I'm looking forward to hearing everyones experience and reflection on these B-I-B-L-E questions:

1. What is your earliest memory of encountering a biblical text?

I remember seeing a movie when I was a teenager and I absolutely cannot remember the name of it. (Keep in mind my family are atheists) And at the very end, It says “Blessed are those who believe without seeing”. As I struggled with accepting Jesus Christ, that line would pop into my mind.

2. What is your favorite biblical translation, and why? (You might have a few for different purposes).

For study purposes the NRSV. For reading and devotional purposes, NIV. And for telling stories out of “The Message”.

3. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Your favorite verse/passage?

My favorite Book of the Bible is the Gospel of Mark and Acts. My favorite verses are Philippians 4:13 and Matthew 19:26. I pray a lot for strength and for courage to overcome the odds.

4. Which book of the Bible do you consider, in Luther's famous words about James, to be "an epistle of straw?" Which verse(s) make you want to scream?

Anything that Biblical Fundamentalists use to oppress women. It makes me especially mad for them to use Paul to justify their oppression of women when it is clear that Paul thought highly of women in ministry. I learned not to publicly express my dislike of those books, however, because I was forced to do my Commissioning Bible Study over one of them last year. So to all you Commissioning fairies, "I Love Them ALL".

5. Inclusive language in biblical translation and liturgical proclamation: for, against, or neutral?

For and neutral. I will pray to the God the Father at times but I will also pray to God the Mother, God the Creator. I don’t want my language or the language of the Bible to be a stumbling block to someone else’s faith.

Bonus: Back to the Psalms--which one best speaks the prayer of your heart?
To many to choose from but I especially like ones that reveal the depths of the author’s pain or anger and their willingness to share it with God. For some people it is taboo to get mad at God and I love to lift up the Psalms that show that God accepts honest emotion from God’s people.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Heart Strangely Warmed

Remember me telling you that I needed to go to the Tire Shop and get that tire fixed. Well, I fiddled around the house. Did some laundry. Wrote that paper for my D.Min. Took a shower and did the whole hair and make-up routine and, then, got in the car to get the tire fixed. And I’m in a hurry because I’m afraid that they will be closed for lunch, once again forcing me to sit and wait for an hour (like the dealership did a few weeks ago).

So I’m rushing the 20 miles to the Tire Shop and I see a little old lady fighting a hay field fire near her house. So I stop and ask, “Do you need any help?” She says, “Yes, Yes, Yes”. So I grab a rake and start to help, then I ask, “Have you called the Fire Department?” because I see that the fire has already spread for a couple of acres. She answers, “No, I’ve been too busy fighting fire.” I rush back for my cell phone and call the fire department, which was easier said than done, because she lives where three counties come together. I finally, after being transferred for the 3rd time, say something ugly in my father’s native language which fortunately the dispatcher does not understand and tell them in the local vernacular that the fire is “fixin ta” burn down the woman’s house, which by that time was true.

At this time the woman and, now, her son are still trying to save the hay field (which in my part of the country is very, very important). However, the wind had shifted direction and was perilously close to burning down her house and I am between the fire and her house trying to stop it from getting any closer.

Not the wisest course of action because when the smoke shifted my way it became apparent that I could not see my way through such a dense cloud of smoke and, also, apparently cannot breathe smoke without a severe reaction. Duh!!

Now when I first came to the little old lady’s aid, she was busily praying that prayer that everyone does when faced with disaster, “O God, O God, O God”. Now when I was faced with being cornered by the fire, I prayed, “O Shit, O Shit, O Shit”. I can assure you that my prayer was sincerely prayed but not as nice as hers was. However, about the moment when I was considering jumping in the stock tank, the fire department arrived. And saved the day.

So I am sure that God provided for both of us, and now I have an excuse for my endless procrastination over getting the tire fixed. It was predestined. God does work in mysterious ways.

The woman required some medical treatment for smoke inhalation and some small burns. She just kept calling me her “angel” and hanging on my neck. I was thinking, “Why did all those other people just keep driving by on the highway?” My throat is raw and sore. My eyes a red and sore. Probably what I deserved for cussin’ instead of prayin’. I’m adding Fire Fighter to my résumés list of pastoral skills.

My lovely, kind Tire Shop fixed my tire, even though, it was the lunch hour. So all’s well that end’s well. Unfortunately, I have to take ANOTHER shower, which I hate. Not because of the shower itself but because of all the blowing and drying and face spackling that taking that shower requires.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rising Star

My little girl won the "Rising Star" award last night at the 4-H banquet. I could have told anyone that asked that she is a star. She was one of the best speakers last night because of something that the church does every month.

The second Sunday of every month, the children run the entire worship service except for the sermon itself (and trust me if one wants to do the sermon I will let them). The kids are invested in the worship service and they learn how to speak in public (and behave). It might not work at a large church (although I'm not sure about that). It isn't some slick production but they do a great job. And then we all go in for our monthly fellowship meal.

We had a new boy at our Kidz Day Out program today. He was the cutest thing (another two year old). This month we did not try to plan every single minute of the day but, rather, we just let it flow and it was so much more relaxed. And they said, "you can't teach old dogs new tricks". We did learn from last month. Lily, the border collie, was a big hit again this month. She is a great distraction. I, however, am exhausted and still have Bible Study tonight. Tomorrow I am writing all day and then spending the evening at a football game.

Ryss is cheering and playing in the band. She plays the oboe during concert season and the bass drum during marching season. So tomorrow I get to watch her march, with the bass drum, in her cheerleading outfit. Should be amusing. All of her friends grew six inches this past summer, but, alas, she did not. And is now the shortest person in her grade. Which means that she just had to play the biggest drum she could find. All you can see of her out on the field is her ankles.

I'm thinking about getting her a new violin for Christmas. She is now playing a 3/4 size violin and is ready for the full-size. I thought it would make a better gift than some I could think of. I don't know yet but her music teacher is selling one fairly inexpensively.

Oh, shoot. I forgot that I have to get my tire patched tomorrow. It has a slow leak and I have to keep getting it filled. That will cut into my writing time. Darn.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Jesus Used as a Marketing Tool

Did you hear about the Winery in Israel who is using images of Jesus to market their wine?
Get more on this story at http://www.luxist.com/2007/10/02/grapes-of-galilee-using-jesus-to-sell-wine/

Care to comment?


Her very first mud mask. Isn't she just the bomb??

Got my very first grade back from my D.Min. program.... A-. Yippee!!


As a pastor, I attend many more banquets than I ever wanted to. However, as a parent, I attend even more banquets.Tonight is no exception--the 4-H Banquet, which is a big deal in my part of the world. The kids even are not considered absent from school if they are away at a 4-H event. I served on two committee's for this particular banquet--prizes and decorating. We did a great job on getting prizes for the kids this year. Thank goodness they just want my help moving tables and stuff tonight for the decorating committee because I have very little talent in that particular are.

Last year I was in charge of organizing the caterer's. It was a horrible job and it taught me to always get a contract so that things aren't changed without your permission. Hopefully, tomorrow I won't have any horror stories to tell about this year's banquet. Ah hope springs eternal.

I want to thank the Ask the Matriarch section of the RevGalPals. They were a lot of help in my dealing with my problem parishioner. I had never considered how many people over my four years here had left the church until I started counting. He is up to seven right now. I have removed him from the Board of Trustees as of Jan. 1. And am still working on some of the other suggestions. Keep him in your prayers. It can't be easy to deal with such a horrible disease.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Ken Gire

I have to write a critical book review of Ken Gire's book "Windows of the Soul". I am having problems doing this because it is not a straight-line narrative style book. I really liked the book but I am a linear thinker and find writing over a book that in many ways is poetry is very hard.

Just ignore me.... I will do it but I just will not enjoy doing it.

The funeral went well. It was very short. I have never officiated at a Memorial Service and it is amazing how much stuff is cut out when the funeral home is totally cut out of the service. Since this is the South, we usually feed the family (enough for about 10 families). This was such an early morning service we just invited the family back for coffee and cookies. It went over very well.

I had to change the channel earlier. I couldn't bear to hear the press conference with the police and others involved with the massacre in Wisconsin. It is beside me that a police officer can be so out of control to kill 6 people. It makes me want to lock my daughter up in a bullet-proof room and never let her out. Fear is a prison of its own, isn't it? I was crying by the time I heard the pastor of the shooter's family give their press release. I hope that the community in Wisconsin will show this family the same grace and courage that the Amish community did last year to that shooter's family.

I googled myself today out of curiosity and to see if I could track down my own blog. That didn't happen but I did get to see some of the funerals that I have presided over and someone with my exact name in California is, also, presiding over funerals. I did find my name on the short-lived Board of Church and Society. My conference pretty much eviscerated that committee last year. Damn troublemakers....that's all that was on that committee. (Does sarcasm come through the blogophere very well??)

This blog is getting longer and longer because I am putting off writing about Ken Gire's book. Must go write, must go write, must go... bake cookies?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Worship Today

I did something that I have never done before in worship. Are you ready for this?? I LEFT THE PULPIT AND WALKED AROUND THE SANCTUARY. I didn't stay away from the pulpit long but I did walk around and threw mustard seeds to the congregation (no one was able to catch one of the little suckers). No one has called my D.S. yet but it might be coming. A few looked pretty shocked but no one was sleeping. Wonder what I can throw next week? Any suggestions?

Coming Together

Last week I finally started getting everything organized and feel much better about it all. I am a list kind of person. You know the type. If I go to the grocery store without my list, I forget all the stuff I need and buy a whole bunch of extra crap. Well, I am the same way about a lot of things. So I listed everything that I have to accomplish for my D.Min. program this semester (by due dates) and I listed everything that I have to accomplish for my Commissioning (also by due dates). So now I feel much better, not as out of control. I have actually submitted some of my homework assignments already. See I do work better when I have a list.

Of course, when you make lists people always try to mess them up but I'm not that easy to distract. I will have to admit that all of this ministry stuff that we have begun at the church is really interfering with my schedule (just joking--ha, ha).

Tomorrow I have my friends mom's funeral to conduct at 10 a.m. Seems kind of early but it works for them (and for me). She died of Alzheimer's just like the funeral for the church member that I conducted last month. I did the Alzheimer's walk on Thursday and met the coolest man. He is 72 and his wife was diagnosed last year with Alzheimer's. It has progressed very, very quick and she cannot even dress herself anymore. But listen to this, he was a referee with the National Football League. And was in awesome shape. I was a little jealous. He was so sweet and spent the entire time we ate together talking about his wife. After we were done, he said, "Thank you so much for letting me talk to you about my wife. It felt great to get it off my chest." What a sweety!! I love the opportunities that this calling gives to me to connect with people.

Being a pastor can be the most frustrating, hair-pulling job in the ENTIRE world and at the same time it is the most fulfilling, rewarding and soul-satisfying call that we can ever answer. I know, it happens to me on a daily basis. Trust me-- I had a Finance Committee meeting today.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Doing Something Right

My daughter was given a homework assignment that required her to use math to design her dream home. She named her dream home "Open Hearts Hospital". You see, her dream home is a small apartment on the 3rd floor of a hospital in Africa. She is the greatest!!

So while she was designing her hospital and dream home, I was reading an article in "The Christian Century" written by Parker Palmer. It talked about a man dying after donating part of his liver to his brother mainly because of poor post-surgical care. He had a couple of quotes that I thought might apply to our broken system. "Exhibit A in my case for educating a 'new professional', by which I mean a person who not only is competent in his or her discipline but also has the skill and the will to resist and help transform the institutional pathologies that threaten the profession's highest standards. I know of no field where the new professional is not needed."

or "Such an education would call us to identify and examine our own shadows. Only when we name and claim our own shadows and become accountable for the darkness that we create will we be able to evoke 'the better angels of our nature,' inner sources of light that make both individuals and institutions more humane."

I have faith that the new generation of pastors will work on reforming our system.

Fair Thee Well

My friend and parishioner's mother died early this morning. She is upset but is complying with her mother's last wishes that she be cremated. We are having her memorial service at the church. She was raised Catholic but when her parents divorced they were asked to leave the church. It has been a difficult week especially since they were in the process of moving into a new house and the electricity still hasn't been turned on. Those of you who don't live out in rural America might not know but many of us are held hostage to the local Coop. The one in our area has a habit of "losing" the orders for electric poles so it can be weeks before they get around to getting electricity out to homes.

MoreCows email me at revdulce@gmail.com and I will send you the post I carefully and thoughtfully decided not to post. Can you hear my feathers fluttering?? I did receive word from the Conference that they want me to re-do the psych evaluation. What the hell? Just another $100. No problem for them. My last evaluation didn't find anything wrong so I'm not worried. It is just a pain. They are requiring everyone do re-do it even if they had one within the last year.

My daughter and I had the most rare of days--nothing to do. Except for showing up at the funeral home with my friend, neither one of us had anything scheduled. I slept until 9:30. I needed a break today and God provided it. God is good. Now, you might think that it is shallow to pray for a day with nothing to do. Maybe it is? But I'm enjoying it.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Chickened Out

I wrote a very long blog over the article in the "UM Reporter" over the ordination process, but since I am in the process I chickened out. My sense of self-preservation kicked in. How very, very sad is that?

I hope to hear from others out there who have finished the process and can speak out with impunity.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

"The Thief"

I remember Brian saying he was nervous around horses. I have a picture that shows my daughter with her horse before he died.

I have it blown up and framed on my wall. It is a great picture and they were a good team. They liked taking naps in the field together.

Tag You're It

Four jobs I've held:
Military Police Officer, Church Secretary, Pharmaceutical Company Office Manager, Nursing Home Aide

Four films I could watch over and over:
I actually hate to watch films over and over, probably because my favorite films are usually action films. If I had to choose, it would be the Star Wars movies and Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Four TV shows I watch:
Grey's Anatomy, Numbers, CSI:Miami, That 70's Show

Four places I've lived:
New Mexico, Germany, Arizona, Alabama

Four favorite foods:
Crab Legs
More Chocolate

Four websites I visit everyday: (or almost daily)

Four places I would love to be right now:
In bed, An Island Paradise, A mountain retreat, getting a massage

Four names I love but would/could not use for my children:
Samantha (shortened to Sam)
Maxine (shortened to Max)
Those are the only two that I can think of right now. You can see that I wanted my daughter to have all of her options open. She could go for the girly, girly name or the tom-boy name. She said that I should have named her "Sam".

Anyone who reads my blog gets tagged. Not fair, but that way I get to read about you. Thanks "Mid-life Rookie" for tagging me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I received a call last night around 9:30 that one of my parishioner's mother was dying at the hospice (which is one hour drive). I got home after 1 a.m. She is still holding on. This family is one of the reasons that I am participating in the Alzheimer's Walk on Thursday. It has been very hard on the family to watch the mother forget them, forget herself, forget everything.

Needless, to say I was not very chipper this morning at 6:45 when I drove Ryss to cross country. But I submitted one of the post-seminar requirements for my D.Min. today, so I have accomplished something but not much. I just can't get over being tired. I even begged off of a District Finance Meeting. I just couldn't face the drive today. Living so far out just adds an extra dimension of difficulty to everything. I'm whining, sorry.

I encourage all of you to check out www.alzalliance.org I don't know if there are organizations and walks everywhere this Thursday but it is a nice way to spend a couple of hours.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Catching My Breath

I made it back from Houston, safe and sound. Arrived to chaos. It has been non-stop since arrival. People here have been hit with a flu-like bug. No musician on Sunday. It made for an interesting Sunday. I will try to blog more when I feel like I can think. But for now, I'm not feeling very well, so I'm taking a nap.