Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

It has been busy (like I'm sure it is for all of you). I have been getting everything ready to leave next weekend for Houston and trying to get all the required papers into the BOM for consideration in my commissioning. I'm praying that it goes better this time around. It is kind of amazing at how different this conference is as far as requirements go.

Anyway, I wanted to wish all of you, my blogging buddies, a Happy New Year. I pray that you will have a wonderful year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dancing Before The Lord

"Dancing before the Lord."

I cannot dance, O Lord
unless you lead me.
If you will
that I leap joyfully
then you must be the first to dance and sing.
Then, and only then, will I leap for love.
Then will I soar from love to knowledge,
from knowledge to fruition, from fuition to beyond
all human sense.
And there I will remain and circle for evermore.
--Mechtild of Magdeburg


What a busy time of the year for all of us!! My Senior Pastor is taking a month off so it isn't going to get much better especially since, sandwiched in that time, I have to go to Houston for a week.

I am driving my daughter to Texarkana tonight to meet up half-way with another family member. She really wanted to spend Christmas with our family and it didn't seem right for her to have to stay here just because I had to. It will be the first Christmas without her and I'm not looking forward to it at all.

One of the main fuses to the house has blown and hopefully the electrician will finally make it out here today. It has been since Tuesday without all of the lights and most of the electrical outlets. Thank goodness the major appliances and the heat didn't go out.

I have a funeral tomorrow and a cold, too. It is a really weird virus. I feel like crap but I don't have hardly any drainage or even much of a cough. My headache and sore throat are the worst of the symptoms. The funeral is a graveside service, so it won't be very long. Plus, there won't be much of crowd so I won't have to project my voice very far, which is very, very good. I don't think it would go very far. This is the first time I've been sick since that horrible, horrible flu I got last April, so I'm feeling pretty lucky.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


It is amazing at what a person can accomplish if she locks herself in her house and just writes, and writes, and writes. Thank goodness that my church truly believes in continuing education and were willing to give me the time off without it counting for vacation time.

I am already feeling less overwhelmed and in control than a couple of weeks ago. I still have work to do but it helped when the director of the D.Min. program said that any late books added to our list just were for reading, no papers required. Apparently, she is having problems getting the book lists from the professors. I was getting a little worried because they kept dribbling in and I thought we would have writing assignments coming in at the last moment.

Now the other good news, the new Sunday School class that I was responsible for starting is going well. It started off with a core group of 10-12, which I think is a perfect size for a Sunday School class. It allows everyone a chance to speak. After being in school for so long, I did not want to start a lecture style group and this is working out well. I did go against one suggestion of my senior pastor, she recommended that we call the class the "Wesley Sunday School Class". I decided "Maranatha".

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Christmas Season

My days are so filled that I can't find the time to blog. Christmas is such a busy season for the church. I would like to say more but I'm off to pick up Ryss from her volunteer work at the Salvation Army Angel Tree and then we are going to the Nutcracker Ballet. One of our church youth is performing in it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Doctoral Program

Okay, I am finally getting some of my doctoral assignments for the next seminar coming up in January. Of course, my senior pastor is taking the month of January off (which she really needs), but that means that the slack falls on my shoulders. It is hard to concentrate on school work during the Christmas season, when I am used to getting that as a school break and worry about all the church stuff too. I guess it is good that Ryss is going to Texas for her school break. I'm going to miss having her with me for Christmas but she really wants to be with our family. It seemed like the right thing to do, since I can't go back with her.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bah Humbug

This week seems like the lull before the storm. You know what storm I'm speaking about ----- the Christmas Holidays. I know that Christmas decorations were up before Halloween was over in some local stores. In fact, I was grocery shopping at Kroger's the other day and they were playing Christmas music.

Our society has turned Christmas into the biggest consumer event of the year. We feel guilty if we don't buy everyone we know a gift or, God forbid, we forget to send out Christmas cards to everyone in our address book.Instead of focusing on the holiness of the holiday, we have let our culture turn it into the most stressful time of the year.

As I continue to study Benedictine spirituality, where we are taught to listen for the voice of God and that material things can interfere with your Christian journey, I am trying to swim against the current cultural stream. It is really hard and it makes me feel guilty but I won't buy everyone I know a gift and I might not send out Christmas cards (that one is really hard). I won't go into debt to buy Ryss everything that commercials say she needs to be a happy teenager.

You are all invited to join me on this protest against the commercialization of Christmas. I'm still trying to figure out the right way to do this without seeming like "The Grinch".

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Charge Conference

Tomorrow night is my church's Charge Conference. I understand the whole historical significance of the Charge Conference but since all the same information is submitted in the End-of-Year Reports it really should be re-thought, re-vamped or deleted.

If they want a chance for the congregation to have a meeting with the D.S. that is fine but it doesn't seem very efficient use of time.

I'm just saying....................

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Yes, yes, I know.....calm down, but I'm still very excited about the election and a little bummed too. My state passed a law that singles, people who cohabitate and homosexuals cannot be foster parents or adopt. It says that kids that are raised in non-traditional homes grow up to have problems down the road. Does this mean that my daughter will have problems down the road? I think that I provide a stable, loving home. I know that this law wasn't directed at me but at gays. Personally, I grew up in a two parent home and had many more problems. It is a sad day. Bummed about the whole California thing too.

But I am also very excited about Obama being elected President. It makes me want to join the Peace Corp. I'm just a little giddy.

Now I really, really want to know what kind of puppy the girls will get when they move into the White House.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Exciting Times

It is 8:30 p.m. on November 4th.....Election Night.....these are exciting times. I don't know about you guys but I am glued to the television. It has been so bad that I am going to have to go on a news fast after this election.

Of course, a whole bunch of my next D.Min. seminar books have arrived and I am knee deep in reading, so I will have a lot to keep me occupied after the election.

My Senior Pastor has hinted that she will take the entire month of January off. I will be in Houston for one week in January. I'm wondering how this will be handled. She has really needed this time off because her granddaughter is not doing very well and has been put back into the incubator in the NICU.

Right now Obama has flipped two Red states and the march goes on.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


You all read the post from my friend who is in the Commissioning process of the United Methodist Church. Well, today she called me with a question---"Did you have to get this physical form filled out when you were in the process?" Of course, I did.

Let explain what women candidates have to have done in the Texas AC. They are required to have a mammogram, even if they are not old enough for the medical community to recommend that particular test. So they are exposed to radiation in a totally unnecessary medical test, which I might add, that the conference does not pay for 100%.

Then another question for our doctors to answer has to do with "Abnormalities of the Genitalia". She wanted to know why they wanted to know about her vagina. Men are not required to have many of these intrusive tests until they reach the age of 50, but women have to, regardless of their age.

The question was "will I be delayed if I refuse to have unnecessary tests performed?" Probably....

"Is it even legal to ask anyone to go through these kinds of test?" The real question is this, if there is something wrong is that a reason to not ordain these folks. Another question, who gets to look at these test results? We have to make four copies of everything and send them into the conference, where they are distributed to various board members, most if not all, do not have medical training.

I know that the mammogram is an extra test that many of the other conferences do not require. It seems sexist and an unfair burden placed upon women candidates. But hey, I'm sure that there is some deep theological argument for these tests......................

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Word

This was an email from one of my friends. Apparently, she doesn't have enough to do.

Gen. 6:13 So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. 16 Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish."

CBOD 1:1: Then God said to the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church: "I am going to destroy all the candidates for commissioning. I am surely going to destroy them. So demand of them to make a packet of information of many pieces of 8x11 papers. It shall include a personal data inventory, a medical report, a psychological report, letters from not one but two seminary staff, a disclosure of the candidate's criminal and credit backgrounds, a copy of their driver's licenses, many written statements, a Bible study and sermon that is recorded on cd - not on cassette shall thy recording be made. Then have the candidates place 5 copies of this information in envelopes that are 9x12. I am going to bring a flood of paperwork to destroy their lives. Every candidate will perish. However, shall they not perish, thou must ordain them."

My Day

My Tuesday's start with a Bible Study at 9 a.m. and ends with a Bible Study at 9 p.m. (well, actually ends at 10 p.m.). But I had some free time around lunch, so I went and voted. Stood in line for one hour but it was an interesting time----I love watching people. Sounds a little creepy when I say it like that. Anyway, I voted, so no unforeseen accident will keep me from the polls, better safe than sorry.

I met with my District BOM yesterday. They unanimously voted to recommend me for commissioning. I've been to this place in the process before but this time I have a good psych evaluation on my side. Plus, two members of the District board are members of the Conference board, so it is looking hopeful. I really am amazed that they let me go before the board this year. I thought they would make me wait. It was a good meeting. Overall, the process has been much smoother in this conference that my old one. I wonder why?!? Of course, I still have several hoops to jump through before next Annual Conference, so there is still time to be hit some rough spots. I'm keeping hope alive.

I even managed to get a little D.Min. reading under my belt today. I did it sitting at my desk, so I wasn't tempted to fall asleep like I do when I hit my recliner. Maybe, just maybe, I should have went for the bi-focals. Now if I could get motivated to start my exercise routine again. My problem is I go straight to work after dropping Ryss off at school and I don't have to be in the office until 9 or 10 (which would give me plenty of exercise time). However, I am cheap and don't want to waste gas driving home.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I really enjoyed the hike yesterday. It would have been perfect if I hadn't fallen and, of course, landed on my bad knee. It looked pretty ugly last night. I have avoided looking at it today. The best part was seeing a herd of deer. We arrived before anyone else so the mountain was quiet and the weather was perfect.

The sermon seemed to go well except for the last few minutes of the 2nd service. I think that my knee was hurting so bad that I started trembling. I don't think anyone noticed but it was a bit unnerving to me.

Tomorrow I am being interviewed by the dCOM for probationary membership at 10:15 a.m., so prayers would be appreciated. Considering it has only been a couple of months since my last interview, I hope that everything goes well.

It has been ten years since I started my college education. I started out at the local community college, part-time, just to see if I could handle it. Went straight from my under-graduate into seminary, and straight from seminary into my doctoral program. I tell you all this because I am having problems getting motivated about doing my reading assignments. So feel free to check on me and keep me honest.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Christian Fiction

I love to read but I usually don't read Christian fiction. I must admit that I personally find much of it poorly written or I have problems in over-analyzing the theology behind it (The "Left-Behind" series comes to mind). But so many people were raving over "The Shack" that I read it and found it interesting.

I really liked one quote: "Life takes a bit of time and a lot of relationship" (page 92). Most of my time is spent on building relationships so this resonated with me.

In other news, my computer appears to be fixed. The repairman had to make an emergency run to my house this morning. It has been a rough couple of weeks. We have become very dependent upon computers.

Sunday is my regularly scheduled day to preach. It sure makes you feel more comfortable to have a few days in order to prepare a sermon versus a few hours. It will be ironic if last week's sermon is better rated than the one that I actually prepared for.

Tomorrow I am going hiking with a group from the church. I hope that my knee holds up but I am really looking forward to the hike.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

4 a.m.

Phone calls in the middle of the night are never good news and when my phone rang at 4 this morning that was the case. My senior pastor was sick and couldn't preach. Now this would be bad news in any case because it is hard to come up with a sermon at four in the morning (Note to Self: Have a sermon ready that is generic enough for last minute sermon). What made this worse was that this was Commitment Sunday, Confirmation Sunday, we had one baptism and No-Stress Joining Sunday.

Everything went off without a hitch. I told the congregation it was good thing that the Senior Pastor chose such a slow Sunday to get sick. It made for a lot of laughs and got us off to a good start.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I spent time by the bed-side of a woman in a coma who died the next day. I don't know about you guys but it is hard to sit and talk to a person without any feedback. I know that it isn't my place to "fix" people but it is against my nature and it made me feel inadequate.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Does Bad Luck Come in Three's?

My computer crashed right before my big paper is due. I have no idea why, but I emailed the paper to myself. So it is accessible. I, however, did not back up all my financial information before it crashed. I hope that the computer people will be able to fix the problem.

My new "used" washing machine died after washing its very first load at my house. I am contemplating a burnt offering to the washer god. This is the second washing machine to die in the last three monthes.

And for the 3rd thing, my brake pads are wearing out and making that squeaky noise.

Thank goodness everything else has been going so well or I would think that somebody was out to get me. ;-)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Balancing Act

I have a 15-page Research paper due soon and it is hard balancing school, family and a new church. My school work has been the place that I have not paid enough attention too.

The next three days will be very busy at the church because it is the "50th Anniversary" celebration. Yes, three days of celebration. Don't ask me.......

On the good news front, my head is feeling much better today. It is apparently harder than the concrete driveway, which isn't that surprising. So I was able to get the first ten pages on the paper finished, when all I really wanted to do was sleep after all the drama of yesterday. I think the desire to sleep might be subliminally planted in my subconscious because I am surrounded by three dogs that are snoring quite loudly.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bad Hair Day

This has been a very rough day. I ended up flat on my back in the driveway with a concussion (well, it felt like a concussion). After being knocked over by one of the dogs who was in the process of being bathed. Well, let me go back to the very beginning.

I was putting on my mascara getting ready for work, when a hysterical child comes running in the bathroom claiming to have just killed a "bug" in her hair. Yes, may the good Lord have mercy on me, she had lice. Needless to say, I never did get my mascara on.

It is amazing how long it takes to clean everything in your house. Treat yourself, your child, and all the other living animals in the house. Spend $50 on treatment stuff, and another $25 at the Laundry Mat washing everything.

We are currently bug free but will have to re-treat in a few days. We were able to trace the source of her infestation.......the Halloween Store where she tried on costumes, which included wearing a pirate hat around the store the entire time we were there.

She is currently taking another shower. Oh well, my house in clean and there are no dirty clothes, towels, sheets, pillows, blankets...................... or dogs, or cats.

My head hurts, my neck hurts, my back hurts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Greed and Seed

GREED: I heard on MSNBC -- Jeffery Sach's say that more money was given out in bonuses on Wall Street last year then the entire world gave in aid to the continent of Africa. Shame on them and Shame on us for allowing it.

SEED: Last night I participated in my very first Cyber-Bible Study. It really went very well and I am hopeful that a combination of media's will help us be more effective in growing our faith. There were a few glitches early on (people had different versions of Yahoo's Messenger) but we had a very good conversation while our children did homework, bathed, etc. Plus, the commute to bed was extremely short.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Guilt Trip

My grandmother's service went very well and was well attended. It was a very difficult service to perform and I don't want to be asked to do any more of my family members. The rest of the trip was not so great. My mother has been thrown into an emotional wreck and as a result really laid the guilt on thick. She wants me to move home. I'm not sure what she thinks that would accomplish but you know Mom's she wants me close. I hope that this gets better and soon.

I got another anti-Obama hate email from a former church member. This time I replied and told her how offensive and racist the email was and to please not send me anymore of them. Surprisingly, I haven't heard back from her.

The church is having a HUGE 50th Anniversary celebration this week-end (it is lasting for three days of stuff). Yippeee!!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


My grandmother passed away on Thursday. My family has asked me to conduct the funeral services. Pray that I make it through the service. I couldn't go to my family right away because my senior pastor is on vacation, so I am preaching both services on Sunday, which is probably for the best since I would me driving into the remnants of Hurricane Ike.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Wednesday Night

Wednesday night we were suffering from the remnants of Hurricane Gustav. Trees were falling everywhere, power was off, and then my water heater tank burst and water went everywhere.

Plumbers are coming today to replace said water heater but apparently the old one was thirty years old and so many, many code violations have to be addressed. They think that they might have it replaced today.

Luckily, I rent so I won't have to come up with the $835 to repair the thing.

Unluckily (for those around me), I haven't showered in two days. I am going to have to take a cold shower if they can't get it installed today because I have my very first Pet Blessing Service tomorrow. The excitement level is very high at the church for this service. My thoughts are.......if I come home tomorrow without having been will have been a good day.

I might just start boiling water and take an old-fashioned bath. Hmmmm......

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Dance Starts Again

Well, I spoke with the Conference BOM person and it looks like I get to start the process for Commissioning right away in this conference. I really thought that I would have to wait for a year before they would let me begin. I hope that this is a good sign.

I go next Tuesday for my psychological examination. This time it is a woman. I don't know that will make a difference but I'm hopeful. The only big problem that I see is that I have an extremely short period of time to get everything finished in time. I have to have everything in to the District by October 1st and to the Conference by November 1st.

So wish me luck, cross your fingers, and add me to your prayer lists. I am going to try very hard to get it all done so that I don't have to put it off for another year but I am not going to stress if it doesn't happen.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Politically Incorrect

I'm sure that most of you have received tons of political emails from people that are incorrect, untrue and just plain biased (or worse, racist/sexist). It is easy to just click on the delete button and forget about it, but what do you do when it is a member of your congregation? And they are sending it out to other church members.....

Give me your insights!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I just spoke about the "Balancing Act" of my life. This is another aspect, which I am finding very hard right now.

So, I wanted to report that my Official Project Outline has been approved by the Doctoral committee, with only a couple of simple changes.

Can you say??


Balancing Act

I know that all of you can relate to this, especially those of you with children in school. It is a struggle to balance our duties to the church, parishioners, and our children. Finding time to blog, to read, to write, to exercise, and sometimes to even sleep becomes a balancing act.

I have found a new ability which helps.....I can now read while on the exercise bike. The key is NOT to rest the book on my belly (which is not a stable platform, no laughing).

I broke down and joined one of the city park's health centers. It allows Ryss to train for her new thing (running in a marathon) in relative safety. It has a pool which is kind to my joints. And, of course, the infamous stationary bicycle. I've decided that maybe if I have invested money in it, I might actually do it (exercise). It really has one great side-effect, which is I sleep much better. This afternoon Ryss is trying Kick-boxing. She asked me to do it too. I said, "Absolutely Not, my knees have trouble walking across the parking lot. I'm not doing that it will kill me!!"

And so the balancing act goes on. I am in charge of both services this Sunday, so everyone else can take Labor Day Week-End off.

Life is good!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I watched the funeral services this week for Mr. Gwatney who was the Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman. He was gunned down at party headquarters by a man who apparently had absolutely no connection with Mr. Gwatney at all. It was a random act of violence.

The part that totally disgusted me was held outside the funeral services. Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka Kansas came down and protested outside of the funeral services. You might remember them as the protesters of soldiers that have given their lives in service to the USA.

They had signs that said:

"God hates You"
"Don't Worship the Dead"
"God sent the Shooter"

I found this so outside the pale that it still makes me angry.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Beautiful Christian Sister

'A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.' When I say ... 'I am a Christian' I'm not shouting 'I'm clean livin'' I'm whispering 'I was lost, Now I'm found and forgiven.'

When I say ... 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride. I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide. When I say ... 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong. I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say.. 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success. I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess. When I say ... 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect, My flaws are far too visible but, God believes I am worth it.

When I say ... 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain.. I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name. When I say ... 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier than thou, I'm just a simple sinner Who received God's good grace, somehow! Pretty is as Pretty does ... but beautiful is just plain beautiful!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I was asked to help feed the homeless last Sunday night at "Our House". I can't describe the feeling of satisfaction that you get from helping do God's work. I left that place feeling truly blessed.

There was one young lady with an infant only a couple of weeks old eating dinner. It was obvious that she was extremely hungry. Jesus said that we will always have the poor with us but it was sad to witness this level of hunger in the United States. I'm afraid that with this economy it is going to get worse.

Many of the people came to thank us for providing the meal. Spiritually I know that I received far more than I gave that day.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


So Ryss has two weeks to do the entire summer's homework assignments for her new school. And we had already made plans for her to spend the last week of summer with her best friend in Texas (which she left for today). It is amazing what that child can get done with sufficient motivation. And now it is quiet in my house again. I know that it won't last long though and with school she will be busy, busy, busy.

Anyway, we had to go to the book store (my favorite place) to buy a couple of books for her assignments. I said, "I'm going to the poetry section to pick out a couple of books." She said, "Mom, you don't read poetry". Strange guy said, "It's never too late to start". Gee thanks, Strange Guy.

I found a book for poetry and it is really cool. Strange Guy was right, "It's never too late to start".

I received a wonderful compliment from a parishioner the other day. He said that I'm the best thing that has happened at the church in a long time. How Sweet. Of course, he was on pain meds at the time but it was still sweet.

Now time for me to get back to watching the Olympics. Every two years, I have a special favorites list on my satellite named "Olympics". I love watching them and I'm not a big sports watcher. There is something special about it. I watched the Saber Fencing this morning and saw the US women sweep the medals. It was so cool.

(Was this post random or what?)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wing Walking

I watched the video of the couple who had their marriage ceremony conducted while strapped on the wings of an airplane. I watched as the pastor/official that officiated at the service was strapped on and thought "Not only No but Hell No!!". There is no way that I would be strapped onto the wings of an airplane to marry a couple.

Good news to report: Ryss found out yesterday that she got assigned to the school that she desperately wanted to go to. She was assigned to the "International Baccalaureate" program because of her academics. Apparently there are only 400 middle schools in the United States that have this program. I'm much more excited that she will be taking a Violin Class and a High School Spanish class. At our last school, she would have had to wait another year before she started a foreign language. I have never understood waiting until High School for foreign languages. I believe that we should start them in Kindergarten like other nations, when it is easier to learn a foreign language.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Country Roads Take Me Home

Well, I spent two days driving close to 1,000 miles but it was totally worth it. I got my little girl back. We were able to have several good debates over Free Will, Destiny and an Omniscient God. I can honestly say that the trip home was more interesting than the trip up. Plus, I saw some beautiful country that I had never driven through before.

She is already making plans to go back next year. There were lots of tears and hugs and more tears during the leave-taking. Her professor was a very nice man and gave Ryss an "exceeded expectations" rating for her time there. I told her that was kind of subjective since we didn't know what the expectations were in the first place. It could have been that the expectations were getting out of bed every morning on time. I have a good time teasing her.

I am tired of school myself which is a shame since I still have several years left in my D.Min. program. I think that all the excitement of the summer is starting to give way to exhaustion. Between all the drama of leaving Texas, starting a new appointment, getting settled in a new house, my seminar, Ryss's time at KU, I am tired. I have three papers due by August 15th. I don't want to do them. I'm such a whiner!!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Too Quiet

I am keeping very busy with stuff at the new church but, at night, it is so quiet. It is going to be such a big change when Ryss goes to college, if this is any indication.

Plus, it doesn't help that it is over 100 outside, so being anywhere without air conditioning is a misery. So you start feeling trapped. Thank goodness that I head to Kansas on Friday, so this is almost over. Of course, she is already talking about doing it again next summer. I really hope that we can pull it off. She is getting summer studies stuff from Vanderbilt, so that might be another option.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Today is my birthday. It was much better than the last couple of years, when I spent my birthday at church camp in 100+ temperatures with 900+ kids. However, it was a little lonley without Ryss.

My aunt came up and took me to dinner at P.F. Changs. It was nice. I'm really looking forward to having my daughter home. I am going to pick her up next Saturday, YIPPPEEEEE!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Philosophy of Spiritual Formation

I am supposed to write a paper about my philosophy of spiritual formation. I am sooooo procrasinating writing this paper.

Help get me motivated. Give me ideas.....something to work with. I have got a case of the blahs.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Home, Sweet, Home

It's kind of funny how fast you can "be at home" in a new place. I was very glad to get back "home" from Houston. Now granted, I really don't like Houston. It plays havoc with my allergies whenever I am down there, but it was so nice to get home. I think that it has to do with my daughter and my dogs. Of course, my daughter is still away at camp but my dogs are doing their best to keep me company.

I am in the middle of planning a Pet Blessing Service. We are having it conjunction with the last Dog wash of the season, sponsored by the SPCA. I'm not sure that I can conduct the service and bring my own dogs.....maybe one of them but not sure about all three. Of course, Ryss will be back in town by then so I can put her in charge of at least one of them.
One lady said, "I'm not sure than mine need blessed, do you offer exorcism's?"

Thursday, July 17, 2008


First of all, if you are a UM Pastor, you have been following the episcopal elections (or maybe not). I am fascinated in watching the numbers of the votes. It seems like if you only receive one vote after 5 ballots that you might go ahead and withdraw. But some don't, it is like they are going to hang on until the bitter end waiting for all the others to come to their senses.

Second, I heard that electric wind mill generators are not good for the environment. The man called them "Bird Cuisinart's". Now, I agree that they probably aren't the best thing for a bird to get whacked with, but I have spent hours watching them in New Mexico. My observation is that they move incredibly slow...... It is probably worse flying through the smog that our cars generate then a few windmills. Could be wrong, I often am, but it seems that we need to work on renewable energy.

Third, I have to give a pat on the back to my friend "J", who has spent the week listening to me...........I must seem like a loony bin escapee from a very, very dysfunctional family (I'm sane, I promise I am). It's funny what will come out of my mouth if I trust you, I seldom experience it because I really don't trust a lot of people. And it always surprises me when it happens because I will say anything. Poor, poor man!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Guided Meditation

Well, the guided meditation seemed to go okay. At least, there were no audible groans from the participants. The funny thing is watching the men as they went through the exercise. Some of them could not keep their eyes closed but had to keep looking at the other men to make sure that THEIR eyes were closed.

I used the story of Jesus calming the water as the scripture for the meditation and spoke of the chaos that surrounds our busy lives. Ah well, I got something out of it even if no else did.

Quick Update

I'm busy studying in Houston this week. It always feels funny to leave everything behind and have all this time to myself (even if I spend the day surrounded by other students).

It hasn't been as lonely as it was last time. I have one of my old accountability group members staying in the same hotel, so we have spent some of our free time together. In fact, we got together last night with another member of the group that had been appointed to a church in the greater Houston area. We are having our own version of Holy Conferencing. I'm not sure that there was much talk that could be considered Holy but it was good to get together.

Today I'm leading a short Guided Meditation for the group (part of an assignment). It should be interesting to lead a group of men (I'm the only woman) through this exercise. I look at this way: if I can get this group to truly experience this, it will be quite an achievement......after all they are MEN AND PASTORS. (Is that sexist???)

Friday, July 11, 2008


I appeared before the Board of Ordained Ministry and they approved my "License to Preach" in Arkansas. Yippeee!!! I'm official. I have been burned so many times by the system that it was a little nerve racking, but I sailed through with no apparent problems.

My baby is leaving me tomorrow for three weeks to study Philosophy. I leave for one week to study Pastoral Leadership. Those two weeks back home without her are going to be very, very lonely. Hopefully, I will be too busy to miss her terribly bad, but I'm not counting on it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

First Sermon

My first sermon at the new church went extremely well. I am very happy with how well it was received. Now if I can do as well next time, I will be on a roll. I followed the advice of the Orientation Seminar and put quite a bit of my personal story in the sermon, so people could get to know me. It seemed to work. People really identified with my M&M addiction. :-)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 4th of July

Yesterday was a fun day, celebrating our country's 232nd birthday. The best part was that my daughter returned from a week-long mission trip to Memphis. I picked her up and we went straight to a BBQ at my uncles.

He had cooked baby-back ribs on the grill until they fell off the bones. It was great. And we sat around the kitchen table with friends, just visiting. Nice and relaxing.

Later, I loaded girl child into the car to head back into the city. We stopped by the river front and watched fireworks while listening to the symphony. Of course, I am not that familiar with the downtown area yet, so I didn't feel real comfortable wandering around in the dark. Which means that I found a nice parking lot where we could see everything and we sat in the car. I know, I know it is kind of cheating but it was still nice.

Today I have absolutely nothing planned, nothing, zip, nada, zilch. Which is a good thing because the girl is still sound asleep and I don't look to hear anything from her until around noon. (I do have to finish one book for my D.Min. seminar but I don't have to get out of my pajamas for that.)

We are both leaving next week-end for long excursions. She is going to the University of Kansas for her Philosophy camp and I am leaving for my D.Min. seminar in the exact opposite direction. Thank goodness for family. My aunt and uncle are driving her to her destination for me.

I have to appear before this district's Board of Ordained Ministry for my license interview on Tuesday. I am praying that all goes well. I'm thinking that if they moved me here from the state next door certainly they won't deny me my license. (keep fingers crossed)

Monday, June 30, 2008

All is Well

I know that I haven't blogged in a while. I have been so busy that I haven't had time. Hopefully things will settle down after my D.Min. Seminar. I still have a couple of projects to get finished before I leave on July 13th. I am praying that financial aid comes through before I leave for Houston. Otherwise I will be living in my car.

Tomorrow I will be working from home. I will be getting ready for my very first sermon at my new church. I have put a lot of time in already, which might not be a good thing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I listened to an interesting conversation yesterday about parishioners who object to being asked to do things for the church, whether it is bake cookies for a children's event or something else.

It seemed like a non-issue to me because the parishioner can always so "NO", if they don't want to help out. Now, granted this is above and beyond their regular tithes, but it seemed a little silly to get upset about being asked to bake cookies.

Perhaps, you can give me some insight on this phenomenon!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Church Office

My church office is finished and I unpacked all of my books yesterday, eight big boxes. Now I can get busy working on my sermon for July 6th. I wanted my commentaries and other resources (It's a comfort thing, I guess).

We had the official welcoming reception yesterday. I had made the mistake of wearing some killer heels. They looked fabulous but I was in severe pain by the time I got home. I met 500+ people in the space of two you think that I remember any of their names???

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Busy Day

Today was an absolutely great day. We got moving around 9 a.m. and went to the Farmer's Market down by the river. I found some awesome Cherry Jam and Zucchini Bread. Ryss got some flowers for the window in the dining room and she plans on painting a still-life of them later today.

After that, we went to a Dog Show at the State Fair. I was in puppy heaven. Later, we went to an Art Supply place to buy some supplies for Ryss's painting project and ate lunch. Yes, it was only lunch time by that time.

Tonight, we are going one block down from the house to a free cook-out and concert being sponsored by my new church. The music is by Fundamental Elements and is a funky, soul band. The longest we traveled today was about ten minutes away from the house.

Now I have to work on some of my D.Min. papers. And I have really had a hard time with these particular books. Not because they are hard or anything but they are the most boring books that I have read in FOREVER. I have the papers formatted but I decided that I needed to blog before I started on them. Procrastination is my middle name today.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Off to a Flying Start

All of yesterday's meetings went well. Today my office is set up and running. The people here are wonderful. Of course, I am new and they are still making up their minds about me but it is looking promising. I have several visits set-up for this week and next with my chaplain group. It will give me an opportunity to visit shut-ins and nursing home folks.

Ryss got the kitchen and bathroom almost entirely unpacked, so today she is shopping at the mall and swimming with church members as a reward. Hmmmm.....I wonder what I find for her to do tomorrow. She is already signed up for a mission trip at the end of the month. I will not have her with me for four weeks this summer. Of course, one of the weeks I will be at my D.Min. seminar but it will still be hard on me.

Anyway for those of you who have prayed for me this last year. I lift those prayers for you back to God. Things are going great.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday x's two

Yesterday went very well, both services. In between the services, the Senior Pastor and I met and discussed different issues facing the church. It was time well-spent. It will take time to adjust to being in a large church but I'm looking forward to it.

One of the questions that I asked was, "Is anyone resentful of me getting this position?" She said, "Not in the least." Which is comforting because there is always a risk and I knew that the youth minister was working towards ordination. I have a tendency to take people at their word and not always pay enough attention to the unspoken currents in an organization. I have been working on this fault, but I'm pretty outspoken and up-front so I find it hard to understand those who say one thing and mean another.

Well, time to go into the office.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Out & About

I started writing early this morning and finished my leadership section of the D.Min. writing. So later after Ryss finally dragged out of bed, we went for a walk at a cool neighborhood park. The river that runs through it was back in its banks after last nights storms. We walked through the trails or, rather I walked, she practiced her skateboarding techniques. You couldn't even tell that we were in the city. It was relaxing.

She has convinced me to take her out to eat tonight. This is after spending yesterday at the mall. She said, "I can totally be a city girl." All it took was a two minute drive to the mall and she is acclimated. Nice.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Focus, Focus, Focus

I felt like a butterfly today. Flitting from one thing to another, unable to focus. This was not good. I have only one month before my D.Min. seminary and lots of reading and writing to do between now and then. However, I did force myself to complete one paper and have attempted to begin on the second one that I have assigned to myself today. That will leave only two sections to finish before the seminar, except for the project proposal which has be redone because of the move. Not complaining though, all is good.

I did hospital visits last night. It was a rewarding experience. They were so grateful for the attention. It was unnerving and satisfying all at the same time.

Well, nose back to grindstone.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Daylight at End of Tunnel

Well, except for the home office, the house is unpacked and operational. The church's gardening club came by today and cleaned up my new yard. I have my computer monitor in front of a window that overlooks the back yard. It is so beautiful. I feel like I'm in a tree-house.

The church office is almost finished being remodeled, so I will be able to move into it next week. I really didn't think that it was going to come out very well, goes to show me. It is much bigger than I thought at first.

Ryss is totally happy. She has hi-speed internet (which totally tickled me too), her very own cell phone and the satellite is hooked up. The other babies (Luke, Lily, Gus, Stormy and Misti) are all adjusting fine. The big dogs finally started eating yesterday. I was getting a little concerned but they are over the trauma of the move.

My middle name is now "Exhaustion". I totally passed out yesterday afternoon when I sat down and tried to read a couple of chapters in one of my D.Min. books. I'm going to have to really buckle down now and get ready for the seminar in July. Did I tell you that the church is not counting those two weeks against my vacation time? All is well in Rev. Dulce land right now. I did lie in bed the other night and ask "What have I done moving to a new state, away from my friends and family?" I think it was the exhaustion talking.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Moved In

We made it to our new house without any major incidents. The new house's air conditioning wasn't working but they had it fixed the very next morning so it wasn't unbearable...........not comfortable, but not unbearable.

We managed to get everything from our 2500+ square foot parsonage into our new 1000 square foot house. It wasn't nearly as bad as I imagined. A majority of the boxes are unpacked and there is starting to be a semblance of order.

It is great being back in the city. I enjoyed country living but it is nice to have everything within just a few minutes (and, more importantly with today's gas prices, within a few miles).

I hope that all my blogging buddies, who were moving this month, have made their transitions in good shape. One of the best things about moving is that we now have Hi-Speed Internet service. It is absolutely wonderful.

Friday, June 6, 2008


I am so excited about moving to LR that I almost feel guilty. It's a weird kind of paradox. I have made some really great friends here and I will miss seeing them on a regular basis but I am so glad to be leaving.

Mix in a little bit of fear about the new position and I am a jumble of conflicting emotions. I have distracted myself with cleaning and reading one of my D.Min. books when I'm too tired to clean.

I would talk about this more but I'm getting so many phone calls that I can't concentrate. I will try again tomorrow night.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

On Grace

Robert Greenleaf, the father of the modern servant-leadership movement, learned grace this way. While a student at Carleton College, Greenleaf began a lifelong friendship with the college president, Donald Cowling. They might never have met had Greenleaf "not been a student who occasionally got into trouble and found [him]self in his office with some explaining to do." During those office visits, Greeleaf discovered a man "with deep and dependable understanding and compassion and with an unequivocal belief in freedom for the human spirit to flower." In the process of being confronted with his failures, Greenleaf experienced deep acceptance. In his writings, he laments those who never have such an opportunity: "I am sorry for those who have never gotten into trouble because they really cannot share my experience. It is one thing to experience compassion intellectually, or even give it. It is quite another thing to receive compassion when one know that all one is entitled to is justice." (quoted from "The Ascent of a Leader")

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I feel like Cinderella today. The Cinderella before she met her handsome prince, the Cinderella that spent her days cleaning the castle. We have scrubbed bathrooms, cleaned pantries, emptied the refrigerator, cleaned the oven and microwave.

The parsonage would look wonderful, if there weren't boxes everywhere.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Made a quick trip to LR today. My tail-bone is not happy from all that time in the car, but it was a successful trip. I did get a lesson and not a good lesson in hospitality today, though. After hours and many miles in the car, I showed up at the Property Manager's office to sign the lease and to hand over several hundred dollars in deposit, first month's rent and pet fee's ($200 per animal). I asked quite naturally if I could use the restroom before I watched their required (hour long) video. The answer was "NO, Use the Burger King next door." It didn't look good for a minute but I went next door and didn't say anything negative (well not too negative).

I got everything else completed on my to-do list and have made it back home safely. I took measurements of the house and learned an important lesson. Do not look at a house when you have been up since 3 a.m. and have spent all day at a seminar. It skews your perceptions. The place is bigger than my first impression. It is still half the size of my current parsonage but it is much better than I first thought and the piano will not be an issue because it is a straight shot into the room that I have designated it for.

I did take measurements and tomorrow (after a good nights sleep), I will measure my furniture and decide where I want everything to go. I did get all my clothes moved into the new place today. I am preaching in my jeans on Sunday.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Today was the last day of school. So Ryss asked me to take her to a beauty shop where she proceeded to have pink stripes dyed into her beautiful dark brunette hair. She loves it............I'm not saying anything except it makes her happy, so I'm happy.

I am all packed up for tomorrow. Running to LR to sign the lease, turn on the water and get a checking account. Then turning around and running home. Ryss and her best friend will be out until late so I have time. They are going to Six Flags tomorrow. I dislike Six Flags so it is a good thing that I don't have to go.

I have packed up and am taking all of my clothes. That way it saves on some space in the truck and I have my clothes readily available (without any unpacking). I, also, packed up my right arm, otherwise known as my Desktop computer and it will be sitting there waiting for me. I'm a little protective of it and I knew that I wouldn't have enough room in my vehicle on moving day. I didn't want it in the truck, so I'm using my laptop until the move. It's a lot slower.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Things falling into place

Ah, didn't offend Sis with the suggestion of the bus. Apparently, my nephew was totally psyched about riding the bus.............another head-ache bites the dust.

New Senior Pastor wants me to take a day and visit Annual Conference. Considering that it starts the day that I move to LR that is going to be difficult. I hate the idea of leaving Ryss alone the first week that we are in a new place. But Annual Conference is only about an hour's drive so, I will pop down there and then run home ASAP. Ryss said it would give her time to unpack without me bossing her around. Not true...........I can boss her around via the cell phone.

My uncle is going to have a fenced backyard ready for us when we arrive.'s been too long living without one.

I am getting the U-Haul truck next Saturday. Loading all day, cleaning the parsonage and then on Sunday preaching my last sermon and hitting the road for LR. Hopefully to be met by the UMM who will help me unpack the truck.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Coming Together

Well, the move is all coming together. Due to the different move policies between the two conferences, it is going to be much easier and much, much cheaper to rent a U-Haul and move myself. So I reserved the truck today. And one week from tomorrow, I will be loading the truck. Hopefully, with a lot of helpful friends and parishioners. And if everything works out, I will be unloading the truck in Little Rock Sunday evening. My sister has volunteered to drive the truck to LR. I haven't figured out how I'm supposed to get her back home, yet. Hmmm..... I wonder how long it would take her to forgive me if I put her on a bus home.

That economic stimulus check came at the perfect time to help with the move. It will help to pay for my renter's insurance policy that the landlord requires since I have dogs. I have the friendliest dogs in the world but I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry.

One of my best friends spent the night here last night with his son. He had a parishioner dying in the hospital in the big city and needed a place to crash. It didn't get here until 1:30 a.m. and all of us, kids and all, stayed up until 2:30 talking. I'm a little sleepy. I might have to take a nap because the HS graduation ceremony is tonight at 8 p.m. We served the entire graduating class breakfast this morning before their rehearsal. It went well. It's been a good day. I can't wait to see the faces of the kids selected for the big scholarship that I helped to interview this week. One of them is going to be totally flabbergasted.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Last night I cooked dinner for my Bible Study class. Everything worked out wonderfully, we all sat down, ate, and visited. I hope that they stick together with the next pastor. The personalities of all the people are so very different. Three of the ladies are so sweet. Two of the men are my old,curmudgeon's and they are so sweet under their gruff exterior. And the others were more worldly and practical.

They all had a good time teasing me about my cooking. I have told them for the last five years that I can't cook..................dinner was wonderful.................they accused me of misleading them for the last five years.

It was a diverse group and I will miss them when I go. In fact, I am going to miss the majority of my congregation (some not so much).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I was able to travel to SMU today and have lunch with a couple of my seminary friends. We met the very first day of school in Introduction to Theology and became good friends. It was great to reminisce over my humbling experience with the Christian vocabulary. We have been through so much together. As an introvert, I don't make a ton of new friends but I always end up with one or two close friends from each place I go and these women are fantastic.

We are going to be in three different states, so this was the last time (for a while) that we would be able to see each other. It was totally worth taking time off from packing to drive 4 hours (round trip) and see them, plus I got some great ideas for my D.Min. project.

Guilt Trip

Wow, I just got a passive-aggressive email from Ryss's paternal grandmother. She is very unhappy that we are moving away and really trying to guilt me out about it. She is worried that she won't get to see her grand-daughter anymore.

We usually only see each other at Christmas because of her schedule (She spends a lot of time overseas in Iraq). I'm thinking that it really isn't that far and she could come and actually visit us at our house for a change.

This is one burden that I refuse to shoulder.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I woke up this morning at 4:30. Read Paul's Letter to the Galatians, went through my entire closet getting out all the clothes that are too big for me now (hurray), exercised for thirty minutes, read two chapters of a D.Min. book, did the dishes, and showered. It is now 8:30 a.m. I am ready for my afternoon nap.

It is amazing how much my energy level has come up. I attribute this to two factors; 1) I am finally over being sick, 2) I feel empowered because of my move.

Energy through empowerment. This was a self-revelation for me. I had not sat down and considered it, but last night I was thinking about this move and I realized that it came about because of two factors; 1) The power and goodness of God, and 2) the fact that I started sending out my resume and beginning conversations with different conferences.

I didn't just sit around and moan about my fate (Well, I did, but not forever). I looked for possible solutions and then implemented them. I didn't wait for someone to rescue me. Somehow I had lost that sense of myself. The notion that I had the power to change my situation.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I am so happy about moving to Little Rock that I was able to just look at the "Head Bane" and smile when she made a snide remark about our move into a smaller house. I just happily admitted that it was smaller and kept on going.

A much better event had just concluded..........teen-agers got the garage cleaned and packed for me today. Amazing what the little buggers can accomplished when they really want to. I did have to rescue a box filled with my photo albums from my time in the military. Ryss thought it was just a old box filled with books. It was just an old box filled with books, A.K.A. photo albums!!

We didn't really have that much stuff in the garage after they got rid of all the junk. It kind of reminded me of the junk that "The Banes" have tried to unload on me the last couple of years. It's much better to throw it away than it is to hold onto philosophical analogy for the day.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Two More Weeks

I have two weeks left at my current church and I'm starting to (finally) get a handle on the whole packing business. At least, I don't feel like I am just spinning me wheels. I can see progress. It sure isn't easy (or fun).

Tomorrow is Memorial Day and my plans include packing up the garage. I don't even like to clean the garage, so I'm not looking forward to this project. Today I did get two loads of furniture moved to the church for their garage sale next month. I am taking this down-sizing very seriously. I decided that it would be much easier to do it here, rather than wait and do it at the new place. Plus, this will help the Trustee's make enough money from the garage sale to fix the roof issues at the church.

I asked my D.S. about his opinion of me going to Annual Conference. He agreed that I should probably skip it and use this time to prepare for the move. I'm so glad. I didn't want to spend four days in Houston, unable to vote on anything, unable to have a voice, and unable to continue my packing progress.

Plus, I am in the middle of trying to finish the majority of my reading and writing for my D.Min. seminar in July. I haven't made as much progress as I had hoped. I really wanted to be totally finished prior to the move. Unrealistic you say, are probably right.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Mid-Life Rookie tagged me for this meme:Rules: The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about himself or herself. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Yadayadayada

Ten years ago: I had only recently been baptized into the Christian faith. Yep, I was a bona-fide pagan a decade ago.

Five things on today's "to do" list: Finish sermon, copy bulletin, call moving company, send deposit to hold new house, band banquet (or packing, packing, packing, packing, packing).

Things I'd do if I was a billionaire: Send money to Mid-Life rookie to help children with disabilities in Vietnam get the equipment and training they need. Pay off my all debt. Buy my own house. Send Ryss to college & medical school.

Three bad habits: Messy, stubborn, speaking before thinking.

Five places I've lived: Germany, New Mexico, Arizona, All over Texas and soon Arkansas.

Five jobs I've had: 1st job was picking sweet potatoes, Military Police Officer, Pharmaceutical company manager, Wal-Mart, Church Administration.

Five people I'm tagging:
Here is the other bad habit, not following the rules. If you are reading this consider yourself tagged.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cottage Living

The orientation went well. The bishop knew who I was and actually mentioned me during his talk. Plus, I found out that my current Bishop gave me a "glowing recommendation". I don't feel quite so anonymous anymore. It is a good feeling.

I found a place for us to live. I'm calling it "The Cottage". It is tiny compared to the current parsonage but I am still happy with it. It is in an exciting part of town, in a good school district for Ryss and it fits our budget. If we decide (after a year), that we want a larger place we will be in a better position to find a place. However, it is going to require some downsizing and maybe some creative storage options.

My dream last night was about missing the first service at the new church. My daughter got up and went but I stayed home and slept. Considering that the prior two nights I have only gotten about four hours of sleep, I understand why I dreamed about sleeping. It does mean my OCD tendencies regarding alarm clocks will be in overtime mode after we move for a little while.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I leave for Arkansas tomorrow for my Conference Orientation. This is an interesting prospect because I know that my current conference has no such thing. I wonder if this means that the Arkansas conference is more organized than Texas?? I will have to report back on this because I haven't witnessed a lot of organization in the UMC yet....bureaucracy, yes.....organization, no.

I suppose that is true of many large organizations but it can be frustrating to deal with on a personal level. What is kind of funny is that as my anxiety levels rose this past year, my own organization levels decreased. And I am paying the price now. The hardest thing to pack so far as been my office. It is a nightmare of paper. I believe that the worst is over but it has not been a pleasant experience. It has involved throwing a lot of stuff away which I always wonder, "Will I need that in the future?"

Sunday, May 18, 2008

She's Back

My baby girl is back from Florida. And just like a teenager, she left with friends about an hour after she got home. I'm just glad that she made it back safely and had a great time. It's good to have her home again.

I'm glad that I will be at my D.Min. seminar and getting settled into a new church when she is gone for three weeks this summer for her Duke University TIP program studies. One week has been bad, I can't even imagine how three would be.

I guess that it is practice for when she goes to college, but I still get to enjoy her for a few more years.

The DS has found a pastor to take on my little church here. It will be part of a 2-point charge with a totally unexpected church. The pastor and I come out of the same home church and are good friends. I hope that he does well here and that the church prospers.

I preached on the Great Commission today. I told them that it says "Go" not stay and wait for the people to show up. I hope that they understand.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Coming Home

Well, my baby is on the bus headed back home. She should be here by tomorrow afternoon. She was very excited by the castle at Disney and I told her that I had visited the inspiration for the Cinderella castle when I was stationed in Germany.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Feeling Old

Today I am trying to read one of the books for my D.Min. and I think that the typeface is about as tiny as they could get away with. I'm thinking that either my vision is totally gone or I need a magnifying glass. It is slow going.

Update: I have discovered the side-effect of getting the flu. My dieting had plateaued and the flu blasted through that obstacle. I have now lost a total of 45 pounds since October. I might have to replace the new pants that I just bought. Ahhhhhh..........................

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Ryss has been gone to Florida since Tuesday. I know that it is only Thursday but it sure feels longer. She was moved up into the High School band last year which qualified her to go on this trip to march in the Disney parade. They won't be back until Sunday afternoon. I didn't realize how boring I am until I was left alone to bore myself.

Now don't get me wrong. I am still busy as ever. Packing, reading, writing, etc., but it just feels quiet and kind of still around here. I am almost over being sick except for the lingering cough which packing is not helping (dust, dust everywhere). Yesterday was busy with Mom's Day Out but it still felt really quiet.

I did find out there is one significant difference between the Arkansas Conference and the Texas Conference. Arkansas' appointments are effective July 1st and Texas' is effective the second Sunday of June. Which left me with nearly a month without pay.

I resolved that I was not going to worry about it and let God work it out. A few hours later I got an email saying that they have moved my appointment date up to June 15th, Hallelujah!! Now I only have two weeks to worry about finances, which is one reason that I have been sitting at home in the evenings. I don't want to spend any more money than I absolutely have to, but I'm convinced that it will all work out.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I didn't realize how spoiled I had become until I started searching for a house to rent. I love my parsonage. It is big, beautiful and in a great location. I have found a couple of places to move to, all in good school districts. One of them will cost $315 more a month than the other will.

It is a lot nicer place and more comparable to what we have been living in but I'm not sure that it is smart to spend an extra $315/month just for my spoiled sensibilities. I don't want to go overboard and not leave us any extra to go and experience the things that will be offered in the big city, travel and for all that's holy finally have high-speed Internet.

Give me your insights. I am tired of having to pinch pennies every time we decide to do something. Plus, I thought if we can't stand it we can move when the lease is up and maybe have a better handle on what we can and can't afford. Because I have no idea how much utilities will be..............

I am going to Little Rock next week for a newcomer's orientation given by the Bishop's Office. It will be physically very hard to get there and still make all the end of year banquets that Ryss has next week.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


There is nothing like packing your life into cardboard boxes to make you wish that you had not accumulated so much stuff. My back is breaking just packing the books. Books that I cannot live without obviously; theology books, preaching books, commentaries, pastoral care........... the list is endless.

It, also, highlights the fact that as a housekeeper you really haven't done a very good job. Packing is definitely not something that someone who is still having massive coughing fits needs to do. I think that there are parts of my house that haven't been dusted in four years. I shudder to think about what is to come.

I thought I had found the perfect house, withing walking distance of the church, but he won't let me bring my dogs. No deal. I think that if he hadn't just finished replacing the carpet I could have convinced him, but, alas, it wasn't to be. Oh well, I can always live with my aunt and uncle until I find something and I still have three weeks. My aunt is getting right on it, so maybe I will have something soon.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Long Delay

Sorry for the long delay since my last post. I woke up last Friday with a temperature of 103. I've never had a fever like that as an adult. It put me down for the count. I am still battling a residual low-grade fever and a cough but am feeling much better. Especially since a call I got yesterday.................

I have been officially appointed to the Arkansas Conference. I have the great new job as Associate pastor of a big church. I am so very excited. I was jumping up and down yesterday (and then stopping to cough until I choked).

Now the hard work really begins. I have to try to get all packed up here, find a house there, try to get as much of my Pre-Seminar D.Min. stuff done as possible, and continue to minister to the folks here. It's a tall order but I know that with God's help it will all come together.

I owe all of you my thanks because I know that you have been praying that this worked out for the best and it did. Thank you!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Keep Praying

Well, it looks like I have passed the first two hurdles between myself and the new appointment. There will be a Charge Conference on May 8th, so keep praying that everything goes according to God's plan. It is looking very, very hopeful so far.

I continue filling my time with D.Min. work and, somehow, ended up on another District Committee trying to help small churches with their worship. How did that happen???? I just woke up from a nap, went to the meeting, and walked away with a new job. Probably my fault for taking that nap before going in, it made me too talkative.

Ryss did very well at the District 5 Competition yesterday. She had to switch from the oboe to the violin at the last minute (oboe broke) and got third place. It is a 22 county competition, so I was happy for her. The Horse Team did outstanding, though, they beat everyone in their own age bracket and then just for practice competed against the senior team and beat them too.

I have been trying to pack a little bit every day. It isn't very much fun because I like to have everything in close reach. I mean, what if I need it??? I probably haven't needed it for five years but I might need it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

References Checked

Well, I heard that the SPRC Chair was checking my references so I hope that this process is moving forward. I haven't heard anything about the results of the Monday night meeting. I would be terribly anxious but instead I'm focusing on getting my doctoral project put together and completing the reading for the next seminar.

One of the books that I have to read and review is Dallas Willard's "The Divine Conspiracy". This is a great book and if you haven't already read any of Dallas' work, I highly recommend it. I decided to read the biggest book first (plus, it has the longest paper attached to it). It has been a little hard to get back into the swing of school.

I am, also, trying to getting the packing process started (because one way or another I will be moving). I packed up my fine china yesterday and took down my wall of crosses. Now my living room doesn't feel right. I think I should have waited for that part of the packing. I feel weird in my own living room with a great big blank wall staring at me.

In between, all the other projects, I continue to work-out and lose weight. I rode the bicycle for one full hour today (so of course, now my knee hurts) but it is helping with the tension of not knowing where I will end up in six weeks.

Thanks for all of your support and prayers.....keep it up.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


“A successful woman preacher was once asked ‘What special obstacles have you met as a woman in ministry?’ ‘Not one,” she answered, ‘except the lack of a minister’s wife.’”

-Anna Garlin Spence, stereotype-smashing clergywoman


Well, the trip seemed very successful. I had a great meeting with the senior pastor and the D.S. There are certain steps that have to be followed because they are creating a new position but I am hopeful that it will work out.

Keep praying for me. Hopefully I will know something for sure within the next two weeks. The next hurdle is the SPRC and Finance Committee Meetings on Monday (finger's crossed).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Latest Update

Okay guys, here goes: I am scheduled to meet with the Senior Pastor and the District Superintendent in Arkansas on Thursday at 10 a.m. This pastor is very interested in my D.Min. Program especially as it relates to building congregational spirituality through small groups.

I just pray that we really hit it off. I am so excited and hopeful.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Prayer Warriors

A wonderful (possible) opportunity has opened up for me. I have to interview for the position but I am so very excited.

I am just asking all of you to pray for me. Please pray for me.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Mexico

Well, New Mexico was a disappointment. They don't have any full-time positions available but have some part-time church's available if I want one. I told them that it would depend on what I hear from Arkansas.

The D.S. in Arkansas sounded promising but they are behind in their appointment process and have to place all of their members before considering transfers. He said that my name has been brought up several times, but once again they have to place their own members first.

He did say that he still has two full-time appointments in his district that have no names behind them. I asked him if at the end of the process they were still unfilled would he want me in his district. He said, "In a heart-beat"!! So that sounds promising and since it happened within fifteen minutes of getting the disappointing news from New Mexico, I didn't sink into depression.

My daughter didn't want to go to New Mexico so she was conflicted about the news. She was ecstatic that we aren't going but she felt sorry for me at the same time. She is going through her own angst at this time because of leaving all her friends behind. I hope that I can find a church and stay there until she graduates from High School. I have been here for 4 1/2 years. I would only need to stay in one place for five years for that to happen.

I can feel your prayers.....keep them coming.

BTW, I am still working on my doctorate because I have faith that God will find a place for me, so I haven't given up hope.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


This is the blog where I am going to list all of my daughter's recent accomplishments, so skip it if you don't want to hear from a proud momma.

1. Accepted into Duke University's Gifted & Talented Program and received a significant scholarship ($2,450) from them to attend their summer classes. She chose to study Philosophy at the University of Kansas this summer (I will never win another argument with her). She scored a 22 on her ACT, not too bad for a 13-year-old.

2. UIL Competitions: Science 1st Place, Number Sense 2nd Place, Ready Writing 2nd Place (These are all District-wide competitions).

3. 4-H Competitions: 1st Place Intermediate Team Horse Judging District Competition (District has 22 counties); 1st Place Individual High Point Horse Judging; 1st Place Performance Horse Judging. And last night, 1st Place County in Musical Instrument Performance.

4. Grand Champion Junior High Cheerleading Squad at National Competition.

Okay, that's all the brag's for the month of March......April is only starting.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

4-H Horse Judging

Well, today I am at a 4-H Horse Judging Competition with a group of kids from the county. It is cold, wet and foggy. This is the 5th year that my daughter has competed and might/probably will be the last with this particular group of kids.

We won't know what the results are until late this afternoon and since, they kick all the adults out of the arena, I took this opportunity to run back to the hotel and pack, blog and check-out of the hotel.

I still haven't heard anything from Arkansas or New Mexico. My D.S. called and was upset that we haven't heard anything. He said, "We are a much bigger conference and have already finished almost all of OUR APPOINTMENTS!" Hmmmmmm.........

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I was confronted today with a parishioner who was angry at me because I did not make it to the funeral services of her brother-in-law. She was actually apologizing for her anger. I believe that I was able to handle it in a manner that left her feeling better and still connected to the church and to God.

I believe much of her anger was directed at God because she felt that it was too soon for her brother-in-law to die. And as God's representative on earth (in her eyes), I took the brunt of that anger.

I seldom miss important events in the life of my parishioner's even if they are the periphery of the church. But during this time, I was sicker than a dog and couldn't get out of bed much less make it to a funeral. Of course, there is also the entire issue of infecting a room full of people.

I know that this is a normal part of a pastor's life but it makes you feel like you have failed, both your people and God, when it happens. And then it reminds us that we are not perfect (and in my case, far from perfect). I am truly sorry that I wasn't there to support this woman during this difficult time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ten Sermons

I just realized that I have only ten more sermons to preach at my current church. That makes this waiting even more nerve-wracking and now I'm starting to feel sad about leaving, too.

I have been here 4 1/2 years. I have made very close friends, fell in love with the church, and grown tremendously as a preacher and a pastor.

Leaving is a painful process even if you know something good is waiting for you. It becomes even more painful if you are still unsure about your future. It makes "Here Am I, Lord, Send Me" even more a test of faith.

I believe that I am learning more about myself during this time, the good and the bad. Hopefully, like all other "bad" events in my life, I will look back on this period as a time of growth.

I read in the Conference Newspaper about the proposal to streamline the ordination process and eliminate the Commissioning Process. I am sooo on-board with that.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Diet Update

Just in case you were wondering, when I first started blogging I was dieting and exercising. Well, I kept it up (even though I took a break while I was sick). My total weight loss right now is at 32 pounds. I would love to lose another 40 pounds, so I'm still exercising and TRYING to eat right.

My personal trainer has pretty much disappeared off the face of the earth (not really). She has been too busy for work-outs because of her husband's schedule but I guess that is for the best. I am still working out every day and it isn't costing me anything.

I think it will be easier as the weather gets warmer and as the fresh summer vegetables start coming in. I can't wait.

Easter Sunday

The day that we celebrated the Risen Savior, we lost more soldiers in Iraq, bringing the total to 4,000. I pray for the soldiers, their families and all the families in Iraq who have lost loved ones.

Speaking of families, here is a web-site that you all need to visit:

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Popular Culture

I'm not that into keeping up with celebrity doing's (frankly, I don't usually care), but I found this e-mail from my cousin very amusing. I think, in part, because as a parent I had to watch many of these children's shows, over and over and over.....

Dragon Scales
So you heard that Jennifer Lopez just had twins, a boy and a girl, right? Anyway.. I just heard the names that she and her husband chose for the little darlings...
Max and Emme..LIKE ON DRAGON TALES????!!!!!! Those of you with little ones around will surely recognize this.
I am hoping that this was not intentional, but now every time I see those precious babies for the rest of their lives I will not be able to contain myself from singing "Emme wished on a dragon scale and that's what started dragon tales", etc. etc.
Let's just pray that their next child isn't named Ketzel...
Ahh crazy Hollywood.
Just an observation,

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

I want to ask that God bless all you this Good Friday. I combined some different elements and made a powerful Good Friday Service.....I figured that this might be my last chance so what the heck.

Do you remember one of the little ladies that made my life so very, very miserable last summer during the remodeling of the sanctuary? Well, on the way out of the sanctuary, she said, "That was the most moving service that I have ever been too!" An Easter miracle!!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Duke University

My daughter was selected to participate in the Duke University Talent Search Program. She took her ACT College Entrance Exam and scored a 22. Not bad for a 7th grader, which actually put her in the 65% percentile of all Texas Seniors taking the test.

She made it into the program and now has all of these wonderful opportunities to study at various universities around the nation. I can only pray that the financial aid will help with the tuition because otherwise I am going to have to disappoint her. It costs in the neighborhood of $3,000 for a three week session.

She wants to be a doctor, so that she can serve in 3rd World Nations. I'm proud of her and as a parent, want to help you as much as possible. It is very expensive though and costs as much as my doctoral semester. OUCH!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I'm not trying to get into a political argument with anyone and I believe that all the current political candidates have good and bad points. But I just listened to the entire Obama speech over race/politics in America and it was one of the most inspiring speeches that I have every heard. If you get the chance, listen to the speech in its entirety.

I would like to rave on and on about it but we are under some pretty severe weather here, so I am going to power down my computer and unplug it from all the potential power surges that come through this part of the county.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Holy Week

Like all the rest of you, this is a very busy week. Plus, I have a wedding on Saturday but I'm excited about this couple. They went through the entire counseling process and have really worked hard on making sure that this was going to work for them. I have a good feeling about this.

As a gift to the church, they are taking down some of the old lights and replacing them with track lights. The old lights attracted crickets like mad, and it was horrible trying to keep them cleaned out so that they wouldn't be a distraction during worship. Allelluia, they are now gone.

My sermon yesterday went much better than I thought it would. I tried an entirely new thing for me. I just took my Bible and preached on Psalm 139....without an outline.....without a written manuscript....a major leap of faith for me (of course, I put many more hours in it than I would have if I had written it). And one of my harshest critics, complimented me. Hmmmm......felt good.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Powerful Experience

This week I was praying with a woman as she took her last breath. It was a powerful and moving experience, especially since she had been such a strong woman of faith and a member of my internship committee. It affected me profoundly to be with her during this time.

The aftermath has been unpleasant to say the least. I have heard of families fighting over possessions, arguing over funeral details, etc. I have never seen some of the dysfunction that this family has exhibited. The son and his wife are fighting over the china hutch....they both want it.....they live in the same house....OMG, what can you say to that???

The son wants me to go over to his mother's house and help him go through his mother's things.....alone. I explained that this was probably not something that I should be involved with and then called my SPRC Chair and clued her in to the bad vibes I was getting. Grief can make people do things out of character but I don't want to get in the middle of the train wreck that I see coming.

I did direct him to a friend of mine that is a Methodist Pastor, a male pastor, in his hometown and advised him to visit his church tomorrow.

Maybe I'm just imagining things but it sure did feel weird.

I did contact the DS of the neighboring state. He said that my name is still on the board, so I am keeping hopeful.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cagle Column

Cartoon by Daryl Cagle - Comment on the cartoon
The Seven Deadly Offset Creditsby Daryl Cagle - Comment on the columnThe Vatican just announced a brand new, modern set of seven deadly sins to supplant the old seven sins which have grown pretty tired through the years. The old seven deadly sins: lust, wrath, gluttony, sloth, greed, pride, and envy were proclaimed by a sixth century pope and were made famous by Dante in his "Divine Comedy" and by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman in the movie "Seven," which was a pretty darn scary movie.
The new sins are:
1. Genetic engineering2. Drug abuse3. The disparity between the very rich and the very poor4. Pollution5. Abortion6. Pedophilia7. Causing social injustice
The church describes the new sins as social in nature and "a corollary of the unstoppable process of globalization." Societies have experience regulating social issues, like pollution, and that experience gives us a great leg up on regulating the other sins.
California's Governor Schwarzenegger likes to fly his jet home, from Sacramento to Los Angeles, each night after work, so he can spend time with his family. Schwarzenegger creates a lot of pollution in his daily commute, but the governor buys carbon-offset credits from businesses that are more environmentally friendly than they need to be, selling their eco-surplus back to the governor. Al Gore does the same thing, reducing his big carbon footprint from his private flights and his big houses by buying carbon-offset credits. It's cool. Offsets work. It's the free-market solution and the system works for other sins too.
"The disparity between the very rich and the very poor" is another great sin for offset credits. Very poor people could sell their "poor-people-offset credits" to very rich people who need to relieve their guilt about being rich and reduce the size of their very rich footprint. "Poor-people-offset credits" would create a free market of guilt-reduction exchanged for income redistribution that would work every bit as well as the carbon-offset credits work to reduce the guilt of polluters.

Rev. Dulce's Comments:
I seem to remember something like this in the Middle-Ages.....Indulgences. Another way for the rich to feel better about themselves.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Last Will & Testament

This week has taught me the value of having your Last Will & Testament done no matter what your age might be. I have spent this week supporting families as they struggled with end of life issues and death.

One of the greatest gifts that we are given as a pastor is that we are allowed to come into a family's lives during some of the best of times and during some that aren't so great.

I have had an unusual experience at my church, in that, I have performed as many marriages as I have funerals. This week, however, was a little rough as I was privileged to be with a hospice patient as she died, dealt with a family's decision to sign a DNR for their mother, and then a funeral for a person whose family is feuding over the Will (very unpleasant people, none that even visited her while she lived but now want her money).

I'm glad that next week I have another wedding to balance things out. This is for the couple that I baptized the man a couple of weeks' ago. They are building a new house next door to the parsonage. I wish that I was going to be able to stay here and watch them start their lives together. It should be interesting.

I am hearing good things from another conference, so things are definitely hopeful.

But I am still struggling with this lingering cough from my recent bout with the flu. It just won't go away, which is why I haven't been blogging very much. I'm exhausted pretty easily, so I do what needs to be done and then take lots of naps.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

No News Is Good News

I am still waiting to hear from the other conferences. It hasn't been that hard to wait because I had a relapse of the flu. So I have been sicker than a dog, and even missed my very first Sunday preaching due to illness since I started this gig.

The weather knocked out all of my communities electricity yesterday. So no television, no telephones, no computer. If I hadn't been too sick to leave the living room recliner, I would have been a happy camper.

I am leaving the house long enough to vote today...............guess who???

Monday, February 25, 2008

Watching Water Boil

You know the old adage "a watched pot never boils". Well, that is the suspense the I am living in right now. However, one of the conferences that is interested in me, had one of their D.S.'s contact my D.S. Who promptly gave them a glowing reference. Hope springs eternal.

After my wonderful morning baptismal experience, I spent the rest of the day in prayer and meditation. Trying to relax and get my spirit back in balance. Obviously, I put off the entire de-stressing just a little too long.

I was getting revved up and moving again from my dreadful flu experience. Today, I wake up with the beginning of a cold---all centered in the middle of my chest. Darn, Darn, Darn.............

I still have people in the hospital that I need to see but they are in ICU. I certainly know that they want me to come see them but I feel that I would be endangering their recovering.

I am going to call in some of my friends for support. Church members are already visiting but I have several local clergy friends that will do a pastoral visit for me.

This sucks. It took me two weeks to get over the flu and now this. I know that all the stress is lowering my resistance but I eat right, exercise and take lots and lots of vitamins. Okay, now I know that I'm sick. I'm starting to whine.

I did finally get something very important accomplished today. I set up a trust, guardianship for my daughter and my Last Will & Testament in the event of my untimely death. Four years ago, I was being wheeling into surgery (gall-bladder) and realized that I had not made any provisions for my daughter.

I immediately bought a life insurance policy but it has been a little more complicated getting all the legal paper-work in order. Especially since I named someone outside of my family as the Executor and a cousin for her guardian (not my parents or sister). But everything is now signed, sealed and given to all relevant parties. The notary said, "You would be surprised how many people your age never make these kinds of provisions for their kids. It makes for a huge fight, lots of heart-ache, on top of the grief of the parent's death."

It makes me feel better that I have done the "grown-up" thing. Of course, I hope that it is totally unnecessary. Plus, I did the "pull-the-plug" directive, also.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Today, I baptized four people, Three children and one 30-Something man.

You could feel the power of the Holy Spirit in the Sanctuary today. It was awesome, inspiring and Holy. Even the humor of the little girl wanting to be reassured that I would not get her pony-tail wet, made the moment even more special.

God is Good.

Friday, February 22, 2008

My Spiritual Type

(Go to Brian's Page for the Link to figure out your spritual Type)

You are a Sage, characterized by a thinking or head spirituality. You value responsibility, logic, and order. Maybe that's why you were voted "Most Dependable" by your high school classmates. Structure and organization are important to you. What would the world be like without you? Chaos, that's what! Your favorite words include should, ought, and be prepared. What makes you feel warm and fuzzy? Like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof it's tradition! tradition! tradition!
Because you love words, written or spoken, you enjoy a good lecture, serious discussions, and theological reflection. Prayer for you usually is verbal. You thrive on activity and gatherings of people, such as study groups. Sages on retreat likely would fill every day with planned activities, leaving little time for silence or solitude.
We need Sages for your clear thinking and orderly ways. You pay attention to details that others overlook. Sages make contributions to education, publishing, and theology. You often are the ones who feel a duty to serve, give, care, and share with the rest of us.
On the other hand, sometimes you seem unfeeling, too intellectual, or dry. Can you say "dogmatic"? You may need to experience the freedom of breaking a rule or two every now and then. God's grace covers Sages too, you know!

Learn about other types: Sage Prophet Lover Mystic

Famous Sages:
Mr. Spock Dilbert Elrond Dietrich Bonhoeffer Maya Angelou Linus (Peanuts)Yoda (Star Wars) Andy Griffith Mr. MiyagiThe Buddha Rodin's The Thinker Moses Ross Geller Matthew (the Gospel writer) Tiger Woods
Read about some Saints who were Sages