Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Night before last it was 60 degree's, last night it was 29. I couldn't hardly drive home from the hospital yesterday because the wind was trying to blow me off the road. What is up with this weird weather??

And I would like to take a moment to speak about STUPID PEOPLE. I know that is not a nice thing to say but sometimes the truth hurts. We have gale force winds, dry, dry tinder and people are burning leaves. Since when is burning leaves so important that you risk burning down your house, your neighbor's house and 100+ acres of land. There is one lady, who lives down the road, who is constantly burning her leaves. It is an obsession with her. So when we have a really windy day and millions of leaves blow into her leaf free lawn, I get tickled. Kind of mean of me, but every time I try to go to town I have to breath in the smoke from her burning leaves.

My philosophy is this: The leaves never hurt me, they are kind of pretty (most of the time), and they really don't need to be subjected to the burn pile. And if my leaves get too deep, I know that a really windy day will soon clean my yard of my leaves and give me my neighbor's leaves.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hospital Visits

My lady in the hospital had to have surgery today. I went to visit with her and stayed for three hours. She was so alone. If there are other people, or they are sleeping, or seem occupied, I can leave after a brief visit but she seemed so alone and scared. One of these days I will get quick visits down-pat.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Friday's Ice

Capturing the image of ice on the trees is kind of hard. It never really stuck on the ground except for some bridges and overpasses but the trees were lovely (only a few broken branches).

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hip, Hip, .....

I went to the Chiropractor on the way to visit my sick parishioner in the hospital. I was still having problems with my hip after my spectacular fall last week. He put it back where it was supposed to be and the burning sensation on the skin stopped almost immediately. I thought well great, it's going to get better. And I am sure that it will, however there is a price to be paid because the muscles that were abused over the last 10 days or so are not happy. My leg is cramping so bad that it is bringing tears to my eyes.

While visiting my parishioner, her son and his work partner came in the room. We were all sitting around talking and the friend said, "I would never marry a woman who couldn't cook well." I popped off (without thinking), "That's sexist". The son started laughing and agreed with me but I was so embarrassed. Not because I said it (I thought it was a sexist remark) but because I was supposed to be there comforting the sick not confronting the stupid. A few minutes later I got up and made everyone hold hands and we prayed for my lady. I wonder if they told him after I left that I was the pastor??

Bad Weather & Hospital Visits

Today is my day off but I am contemplating visiting one of my people in the hospital. However, it is kind of nasty outside with possible ice on the overpasses and bridges, cold & wet, generally miserable.

Should I go or should I stay home....nice, warm and comfortable at home.

Darn it all, I'm going to go.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Irish Blessing

To all my blogging friends.

Henri Nouwen

I would like to share some words of wisdom that Henri Nouwen wrote:

"As you see more clearly that your vocation is to be a witness to God's love in this world, as you become more determined to live out that vocation, the attacks of the enemy will increase. You will hear voices saying, 'You are worthless, you have nothing to offer, you are unattractive, undesirable, unlovable.' Do not be afraid. The more you are called to speak for God's love, the more you will need to deep the knowledge of that love in your own heart. The farther the outward journey takes you, the deeper the inner journey must be."

I hope that this makes you feel as good as I did when I first read it. Peace!

My European City

You Belong in Amsterdam

A little old fashioned, a little modern - you're the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam.
Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Small Church Manifesto

If you are the pastor or member of a small church, this is a must read. If you are the pastor or member of a mega-church, you should read it too.,0,6380026.story

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Can't Fly

Well, I didn't make it to my daughter's big performance. Do you remember watching "Bewitched" when you were growing up? She could just twinkle her nose and be anywhere in the world. Do you remember trying and trying to twinkle your nose? This can be a difficult thing at times; choosing other people over your family. Unfortunately, the wedding was scheduled for weeks while the Band Director did not give me the performance information until Thursday. I don't like last minute stuff because it puts me in this position of choosing between my daughter and my calling.

At the mandatory party, I got to see my first D.S. He appointed me here and told me that I was doing a great job. He sits on the Board of Ordained Ministry, so I was happy to hear that.

All my other activities went off without a hitch. I do have a question for all of you clergy-type people out there. How much do you charge for doing a wedding?

My Day

1. Get Ryss to the school for her trip to All-State Band Concert.

2. Wedding Rehearsal (which was supposed to happen last night but due to an injury to the Mother-of-the-Bride had to be postponed.

3. Mandatory District Epiphany party....don't you all love mandatory parties?

4. Wedding Service

5. Can I make it several miles and several counties over to watch my daughter perform? Maybe if I can fly like Superwoman!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Testing for Blue Belt

She is now sparring with adults. She came home with a bruise & scratch along her jaw from taking a punch in the face. Keep in mind that she is the shortest person in her entire school grade. Next is her brown belt rank, I'm sure she will be working very hard to get to that (why?? because then she is that much closer to black belt...the holy grail).

She came home from fighting and began painting a pastoral scene. Working to get the leaves and shading just right.

I'll never understand her.
You Belong in 1997

With you anything goes! You're grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It's all good!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them

I was visiting with one of my parishioner's in the front yard today. Luke (a.k.a. Lucifer) was joyfully gallivanting around the yard, a huge smile on his face, bouncing, playing, having a great time. He came up at full speed, weighing in at around 75-80 pounds, and look me out at the knee's. He hit my good knee (sideways) and, unlike the last fall which happened at the speed of light, this one was in slow motion.

Of course, I landed on my already injured side and caught myself with the wrist that has been broken several times in the past. It is sprained and I hurt all over. If I didn't love the big pain in the A&$, I would be really mad but he looked so sorry and contrite that I just lay there laughing at him. Now if I can't get out of bed in the morning I might not be feeling as charitable but for now he is sitting at my feet, gnawing on a tasty bone with no worries in the world. You gotta luv something that loves you so much that you can't leave the room without him right behind you. Y'alls prayers for the removal of the jinx need to be said with more fervor. I can't handle many more falls.

One of my very best friends, who is in seminary in Fort Worth, was in a terrible-seeming car accident yesterday. She flipped her car several times and was in ICU overnight, but miraculously she was discharged today. God is good.

Ryss tested in Karate for her Blue Belt today and got a perfect score. She is getting pretty good at this karate stuff. I may need to put her in a weight-lifting kind of sport because if I keep getting injured she will have to carry me everywhere.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Jo(e) was discussing how quiet the house is now that college is back in session compared to how noisy it was while all the kids were at home. I got to thinking about things that you notice because they are opposite of what you have been experiencing.

I looked for some things around the house to illustrate my example. I thought about dirty versus clean but decided that meant I would have to clean something first (so that was obviously out).

But I thought that the picture of the cross on top of the church would get the point across (with the added benefit of not having to clean anything). The blue sky wouldn't be nearly as beautiful if we never had a cloudy day. I guess that we wouldn't appreciate God's gifts without some of the troubles that life has in store for us.

Shoot Me, Shoot Me Now

We had a Congregational Meeting with the District Superintendent last night to discuss the future of my church. One man actually called the D.S. a dictator and what was especially upsetting about it was the fact that the DS was actually being very conciliatory. He was trying to explain that he doesn't take votes because it means that there are winners and losers. He wanted a consensus before moving forward. Plus, this very same man brought up (AGAIN) how much he didn't like the DS's preaching from over a year ago. He said the DS pranced while he preached (OMG).

My head is hanging in shame................. It is like when your child embarrasses you in public. I just wanted to thump some of them.

The outcome of the meeting was very satisfactory, both to the DS and to the church. It appears (pending approval) that this church and the other church involved in the merger are going to join charges and be served by one pastor but remain autonomous. It will become a very strong student appointment. I just hope that the student has very thick skin (think rhino skin).

My DS called me on his way home and said that he wouldn't have lasted at this church for nearly as long as I have and commended me for my fortitude. It made me feel somewhat better but yesterday was very painful.

And to top it off in the middle of the night one of the dogs needed to go out very, very quickly and as I ran through the house trying to get him out before he threw up everywhere, I fell. It wasn't a nice graceful kind of fall, oh no, it was a full body slam. You know that exercise bicycle that has helped me lose all the weight, well it has an evil side. It reached out and grabbed my ankle as I flew through the house with Luke and took me me out. It shocked Luke so much that he was able to actually hold off on vomiting as he checked on me, so he got outside before he got tossed his cookies. I, however, am a very sore camper this morning. In a very strange way, since I was going so fast when I fell, I didn't have time to try and catch myself with my arms so I didn't break a wrist (which has happened to me three times in the past). My right hip is screaming at me but nothing is broken.

I'm feeling a little jinxed and need a prayer to remove said jinx.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mentally Gearing up For Worship

This is me....getting ready for worship. I want you to notice the careful color coordination between the pajama's and the socks, the go-get-'em energy and the careful posture. I did go on to preach a sermon that seemed to resonate with the people, Reaffirmed our Baptismal Covenant, had a good crowd and our monthly luncheon was cordial.

I am kind of bummed that the Dallas Cowboy's lost but I quickly put that behind me as I took the rest of the day to celebrate the birthday of my 7 year old great-niece and read a novel totally for its entertainment value.

Tomorrow night is the big meeting with the District Superintendent. It should be interesting (and not the good kind of interesting). I am tempted to take today off because of tomorrow but I have my nose to the grindstone.....but the purple slipper socks are still on my feet.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ryss getting ready to snowboard! Isn't she cute?

Friday Five

1. When is your birthday? Does anyone else (famous and/or in your own life) share it?
My birthday is July 26th and I share the same birthday with Sandra Bullock. She was even born the same year I was. Kate Beckinsale is another celebrity that shares my birthday.

2. Do you prefer a big party or an intimate celebration for the chosen few?
I prefer an intimate celebration of a chosen few. Friends that I can just be myself with.

3. Describe your most memorable birthday(s)--good, bad, or both.
My 18th birthday was spend at the US Army Induction Center. The very next day I was on an airplane to Fort McClellan Alabama to begin my basic training.

4. What is your favorite cake and ice cream? (Bonus points if you share the cake recipe). Or would you rather have a different treat altogether?
I love cheesecake covered with caramel.

5. Surprise parties: love 'em or hate 'em?
Only someone who really didn't know me would think that a surprise party was a good idea or someone who really didn't like me. Thank God that no one has been so cruel.

Bonus: Describe your ideal birthday--the sky's the limit.
My ideal birthday would happen on a Greek Island as part of my world/year-long cruise.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Admin Council

Last night was our regularly scheduled Administrative Council meeting and it was flowing along fine. We were moving forward in a constructive manner as we dealt with the issues of our non-merger.

One of the items discussed was keeping up the high attention to detail in regards to our facility. It is so easy to become accustomed to things that you don't even notice that they need repaired, restored or just get used to it. I mentioned that the chair in the nursery smelled bad (mildew/mold) and that I had a rocker/recliner that I would bring to the church to replace this chair. THAT WOMAN, whom I am beginning to find it really hard to love, literally called me a liar...OVER A CHAIR. I immediately just dropped the subject but OMG, even prior to becoming a pastor, even before converting to Christianity, I would never have called someone a liar over something so insignificant. It wasn't like I said it was her fault that the darn chair smells horrible.

This person and her daughter drive a significant distance to church. The daughter announced that they were looking for a church in their hometown not too long ago and I am praying that they find one soon. The daughter actually got up from the meeting and walked into the nursery, and in full view of the entire council smelled the chair. She didn't say anything so I'm hoping that she got a nose full. We just replaced the carpet in the nursery and have really made it a nice place for parents to drop their children off and this woman has resisted every single change.

I'm beginning to believe that it is me she is really resisting. If I had said the chair smelled wonderful, she would have claimed to smelled to high heaven. I believe that she is upset that when they announced their plans to find a church in their hometown, no one jumped up and tried to talk them into staying. Ah, you reap what you sow.

Other than that, the rest of the meeting went well and they are even sending a repairman to the parsonage tomorrow to fix my dryer and the oven. The oven hasn't worked right for the past four years and the dryer is a fire hazard.

They did vote to drop out of the Transformation Project. Not because the church doesn't want to transform but because the cost is $1,000 and they don't feel that the consultant has really done more than come in for 20 minutes and tell them what was wrong with the physical plant. There wasn't any constructive ideas and/or support for reaching our community. It didn't help that he was a total jerk and didn't try to connect with the people.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

"Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations"

I'm currently reading Bishop Robert Schnase's book "Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations". In my conference, we have been trying to enact all five of his recommendations for a few years now. It should be easy but it's not. I think that anyone trying to lead a congregation should read this book and so should everyone else.

I loved his statement on page 29. "Members blame the scapegoat and find fault for why things don't work better, and they deny and ignore and avoid their own complicity in the stagnation of their churches." "This won't change until each person takes responsibility for practicing Radical Hospitality as obedience to the ministry of Christ. Church members have to mature from "they ought" to "I will".

Imagine my delight in reading that particular statement, especially after hearing about my dog situation yesterday. Not that I am going to even acknowledge that particular piece of idiocy from those particular members of my church. All of this was churning around in my brain as I took my dogs for a walk today (see they even help me prepare my sermons), I came back and wrote my sermon for week after next. I don't say this too often, but it is pretty darn good. I'll let you know how they receive it after the 20th. I may be running for the nearest exit, but it speaks to the truth. (But I don't mention the dogs, no reason to poke the bear :)

I am back on my regular work-out schedule after being gone for the holidays. I did a pretty intense work-out last night and I can't move my right shoulder today. Thank the Good Lord that I can type without moving my shoulder. All those push-ups did something and it hurts. Why oh why couldn't it have been my left shoulder?!? Your ankle or knee or wrist, you can bind it up but your shoulder.....down into your chest muscles.

Now I know that some churches kind of take a deep breath after the Christmas holiday's but my January is looking as busy as December was with marriages, dedication services, District events, training events, Reaffirmation of Baptismal Covenant Service. You name it and I seem to be doing it right now. Plus a special meeting between the church and the District Superintendent (that they asked for). It seems that they believe that the "Church" is trying to get rid of small churches. Does it ever end??

Monday, January 7, 2008


My new and revised sermon on Sunday went extremely well. So well that one of the parishioner's asked me to revamp it a little and preach it at her wedding. is amazing what people get out of a sermon because I said absolutely nothing that could be misconstrued as relating to a wedding but it was a sermon filled with hope and new beginning's.

For those of you interested, my liturgist was visiting her mother at the rehab center. The pianist totally and completely forgot about the church service even after being reminded about it at 4 p.m. that same day. Oh well, why should we think about Christ at Christmas??? (Yes, I am a smart ass.)

As for the other stuff I'm dealing with, I have done everything within my power and the rest is up to God. I'm not even worrying about it with the top of my is still simmering away underneath everything but I don't think that I'm letting it consume me.

I have other stuff to do that. Apparently, a couple of my church members believe that part of the church's problems are related to the fact that I have pet's. How that could even begin to affect church membership is beyond me so I think it is merely a target for their frustration. Of course, I would "go to the mats" over my dogs so they better not trip down that lane too far. It is very hard on a family to be itinerant and the one constant in my daughter's life is her pets.


Do any of you feel like you are drowning....drowning in paper? I dread going to the mail box because I know that 96% is going to be junk mail, newpapers, magazines and the rest is probably bills.

I went to a District meeting today and left carrying enough paper to cover every square inch of my parsonage floor. And what is worse most of it has already been handed out previously or sent to us via email.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Phone Message

Listen up!!

Those of us who are pastor's have had phone calls like this and, if not, you will.

I Am Legend

We went to the movies yesterday and saw the new Will Smith movie "I Am Legend". I enjoyed it but I'm not going to tell what happened in case you still haven't seen it.

Today, we both got new haircuts. Of course, I didn't change the basic style, just had four inches cut off. You might think that I'm boring (and you're probably right). I, however, like to think that I've found a style that works for me and it doesn't make any sense to change it.

I decided at the last minute that my sermon for tomorrow totally sucked and wasn't what needed to be said.....don't you just hate when this happens?? So I have changed everything, even the scripture passage, which meant that I had to re-do the bulletin. Hopefully, I will sleep better tonight. I woke up at 5 a.m. this morning and couldn't go back to sleep, so I watched a show about Carmelite Spirituality. It was the perfect thing......I fell into a deep sleep. No, no, I'm just kidding. The Bishop of Stockholm Sweden was arguing that morning prayers are even more important than evening prayers, since evening prayers are more a recounting of the day's events while morning prayers are an invitation for God to accompany us are our daily journey. So I prayed. I don't think I accomplished very much today except for the sermon.

I am having problems with motivation. My desk is covered with mail...junk, junk, and more junk. I feel like I am drowning. I know that it is this whole psych eval thing that is messing me up but somehow knowing the cause and moving beyond it are two totally different things. My D.S. has reassured me that no matter what happens with my commissioning he has a place for me. That was a huge relief. I have done everything that I can and as MoreCows said in her blog, I'm not in control. So I'm just going to trust in God.....

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Back Home

George Eliot said:“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”

I'm back from vacation. It's always good to come home but vacation was wonderful. I have missed reading all your blogs but hope to get caught up soon.

Two quick updates: The conference psychologist has not bothered to return my phone calls as of yet, so no word from that quarter.

The merger for the two churches was voted on and the merger motion failed. The DS is coming on January 15th to lay out the options for the church.