Saturday, November 14, 2009


My daughter is currently rearranging the living room. While I don't condemn the practice in general, I really don't like it for me. If I get up without my glasses on, I like knowing where everything is so that my toes don't get stubbed.

Really there wasn't any need to rearrange the living room!! The child gets one Saturday off and this is what happens.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Prayer Shawls

I am currently working on my third prayer shawl. Who would have thought that I have a domestic streak?? My daughter came in from school the other day and said, "You look just like Grandma"!! It was a shock to my system because my mom is a big crocheter. We never want to hear that we are like our parents, because we feel like we should be totally separate.

Anyway, this ministry has totally taken off from my initial Small Group Leadership Retreat. I am very excited about it because it is Lay led and Lay driven. God is good!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sunday, November 1st

Saturday night, I received a phone call from my senior pastor. She is sick and I have to preach. Not a huge problem in and of itself, but this was a special service Sunday. We had added all kinds of different pieces to make it a very memorable All Saints Service. On top of all that, I had forgotten that I was filling in for the Children's Sermon too.

First service starts and the "stinking" sound system is down again. Thank all the Saints who were looking out for me, it was fixed before I had to preach very much of my sermon.

After that inauspicious start, the rest of the day went extremely well. Lots of people loved the service and I was glad that I was able to pull it off without any major stumbles.

The next day was our "Staff Retreat". It was led by a psychologist that specializes in relationships. It will be interesting to see if it has any effect. Unfortunately many of those involved "like the way I am", which is code for, they have no intention of changing. Kind of sad when you think about it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

BOM Sermon

Scary moments this morning--the sound system was totally down for the first service. I thought, "Not today of all days!!" However, they got it up and running in time for the second service and I was so relieved that I relaxed (a whole bunch) and preached over the Wesleyan Threefold Grace. I don't know how it went because I haven't seen the DVD yet, but congregation reaction was good.

Of course, they liked the first service sermon too. The one where I had to strain my voice projecting it over a huge room.

This was the first time the entire sound system crashed!!! Was God just testing me??

Friday, October 16, 2009

Casting Off by Nicole Dickson

This is a wonderful book about a woman who finds redemption and forgiveness on an Irish Island. Woven throughout the story is the history of Irish spinning and knitting.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rule of Life

I am in the process of completing an assignment for school. It is supposed to be titled "Rule of Life for Pastoral Care to the Pastor". Basically, it is taking care of myself. In reading, Barbara Brown Taylor's An Altar in the World, she talks about having something that you love doing outside of the church. Not in the recreation department, but an unpaid job.

I've thought and thought about what I would like to do as a volunteer that is not related to being a pastor. I thought about counseling at a local domestic violence shelter or volunteering at a local library----helping women and books, but those are related in a way to my tasks as a pastor. The more I consider what I truly love besides God and church, it becomes clear--Dogs. I love dogs.

Unfortunately, she also talks about the ability to say "No". I am so overwhelmed at times that I want to grab anything that is made out of paper in my house and have a gigantic bonfire. I feel like I'm being smothered by paper. Not just the books that dominate most of my life, but the hoards and hoards of mail, papers, magazines, my crap, Ryssa's crap. I'm sure that as soon as a throw a piece of paper away, I will need it. (I did do some cleaning yesterday and feel a little better today.)

So the problem with having an unpaid, non-church related job will have to wait until I finish school. I have just been approved for Candidacy status for my doctoral project. It took several (several) re-writes for my project narrative to be approved. I was beginning to think I wasn't going to make it, but it turns out that I was the test case for the new, improved doctoral program (fun). My papers will be the format for all the following D.Min. students. So they were looking for perfection, which as many of you can attest to, I am so not perfect.

Back to the Rule of Life, it is a work in progress and an evolving tapestry of wants and needs.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Love at First Sight

I was going through the usual 1st of the month routine. Paying bills (always depressing) and I decided to run into the grocery store for one thing (dish soap). Now I knew that I probably wouldn't leave the store without spending $100, but I was resigned to that fact.

So here I am, in less than a gracious mood and my hair pulled back into a ponytail and no makeup, when I spotted HIM. He was probably in his 80's. A small man, dressed in a dapper, three piece suit, with a red handkerchief coming out of his front pocket and a little black hat. He could only take steps in about six inch increments with the help of a cane.

He caught my eye and tipped his hat at me, smiling broadly. I smiled back and dipped my head in acknowledgment. I watched him repeat this with everyone that he made eye contact with. I looked behind him and saw a billboard with the words, "I love you, I love you, I love you....signed GOD".

That little man made my day, with his dark brown skin, dapper suit and a smile that lit up the day.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Tomorrow is the very first "Retreat" that I have ever organized and led. It is, also, the kick-off for my doctoral project. Needless to say, I have been agonizing over this thing. I'm pretty laid usually, so I hope that kicks in tomorrow and I don't stress over little things.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

In Memory of:

Being in ministry is never an easy task. We make friends in a local church and then have to bury some of them. I know this is not something unique to clergy but it seems to come in cycles. I had a funeral last week, another tomorrow and another Saturday.

I did a lot of funerals over the Christmas holiday but they weren't for people I knew. Mostly is was for people who had no church home, sad in its own way, because we didn't do something right to pull them into the life of the church or sad because they rejected the grace offered to them.

I know that I'm going to miss the woman I'm doing the funeral for tomorrow. She was almost 92 and hardly anyone knew it. She was so very active. She learned to play the viola at 85 and she learned how to paint last year--hummingbirds. She started a handbell choir at the church last year, tutored at a local elementary school and was a fierce bridge player. I hear that she couldn't cook that well, however. My kind of woman.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


My 22-year old neice called me this week to tell me she reported, her mom my sister, into CPS for neglecting her 11-year-old brother. She said that my sister is abusing prescription narcotics. The family has tried interventions, but my sister keeps denying having any problem.

Please keep my family in your prayers. I'm not sure that my neice chose the best option for dealing with it, but she felt she had no choice.

Monday, August 3, 2009


I had a dream last night that I was with a large group of people and Jesus. We all had to choose between two stories and then tell Jesus why we chose our story. I remember that I chose a story that was about grace and forgiveness. The other story was more technically correct but it was about judgment.

I'm in line to tell Jesus the reasons why I chose my story and a girl in the line starts complaining to Him about a grade that she got on a test. All I could think was "For God's sake He is the Son of God and you're complaining about a grade you got"!! Finally after several minutes of her complaints he asks, "Do you really want me to give you what you deserve?" I'm screaming in my head, "NO".

Then it was my turn to stand before Jesus....but I couldn't find my story in the book and was panicking.

About that time my dog woke me up...........I must have made a noise or something because he had his big, old head stuffed right against my nose.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Another Trip

I am getting everything ready to send my daughter off to the University of Kansas for the next three week, while I prepare to leave for Houston. She loves going to the Duke TIP summer camps. I love the fact that Duke puts its money where its mouth is and gives her a scholarship to attend the camp. Last year it was Philosophy and this year it is Introduction to Medical Science.

Let me tell you, sending a teen-ager off to study philosophy is the biggest mistake you can make. For months, I was told that my arguments for anything were illogical. I had to resort to "I'm your mother and I told you so" way too many times.

Pray that she had a safe trip. It doesn't seem to get any easier to let her out of my sight.

Monday, July 6, 2009


I will not even pretend that I meditated very long over the concept of freedom this 4th of July. I did, however, get almost all of my pre-seminar homework completed. Now I am frantically working on my Project Proposal Narrative for submission to the D.Min. Committee. I am having problems coming up with quantifiable measurements for spirituality, so I enlisted the help of a Math professor and and Engineering instructor.

The other project I am working on is my physical well-being. I have been working out at the gym almost every single day. I have lost twelve pounds and over 7 inches. I hope that the next two weeks don't cause me to falter. First, I have the D.Min. seminar and then I have a "mandatory" retreat. The retreat will also put my one week behind in my post-seminar assignments, but I hope that it doesn't have a negative impact on my conditioning program. I will have to take really long walks and some weights along with me, I guess.

There is some negative stuff happening at the church (not with me). So far I have avoided being triangulated in the situation and I pray that I can keep out of the potential backlash.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Well Friends, I didn't think that this day would ever come. The Arkansas Annual Conference voted on my Provisional Membership today....YEAH! Tomorrow is the Commissioning Service. I wish all of you could be there with me but I know that I wouldn't have made it without all of your spiritual support. Thanks!!

As many of you know I'm an Introvert, I'm wondering if someone could be pathologically introverted. I'm really worried about someone I know. It is really interfering with her ministry. She is already on anti-depressants. It seems to be getting worse.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


It seems like forever since I blogged. My life has been so hectic that when I finally get home I seem to plop down in front of the television or go straight to bed. It won't get any better soon since I received my next semester's pre-assignments yesterday which are all due by July 13th.

I did do one really neat thing since I blogged last. I went on a Dental Mission of Mercy trip. The Arkansas Dental Association comes together once a year to provide free dental care to the needy. We helped close to 2,000 people receive much needed dental care. One guy had to have sixteen teeth extracted. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain he was in.

I have been having trouble getting motivated when it comes to reading my assigned books. I am so tired of all this. The church has been great about giving me the two weeks per year off and giving me time during the week to work on this project.

Part of all this might be the fact I am getting over a pretty nasty bug. I just don't feel like I have any energy. However, I am very excited about being Commissioned next month. The months are just too crowded though...May-Mission Trip, June-Annual Conference, July-D.Min. Seminar, August, trip to Kansas.

And Sixteen books to read and write papers over between now and July. Pray for me...............

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Well, I broke down last night and joined a gym. It is a pretty nice place that allows Ryss to work out too (which can be kind of hard to find). She loved it and practiced getting her mile faster, and faster, and faster. I don't have that kind of energy but it felt good to work out last night and again this morning too.

After the work-out, I went and picked up food for tomorrow. My Sunday School class is feeding the homeless dinner. I thought it would be a good way to spend Easter. I have been teaching a series over the Seven Deadly Sins. Tomorrow's sin is "Sloth". I am preaching over the Seven Deadly Sins next Sunday.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Well it looks like attempts at a reconciliation failed. It is rough to witness something like this in the church. It is even harder when you honestly like all the parties involved and can see both sides of the conflict. This will definitely damage the ministry at Trinity, at least for the short term. In some ways it is even harder because this is Easter, the Holiest of Days, for Christians.

Pride and Anger are running amok....................

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Massive conflict at the church this week between Contemporary Worship Leader, Youth Pastor and Senior Pastor......the first two are a married couple. Emergency SPRC meeting tonight before our Maundy Thursday service. Not good timing in my opinion. Everyone comes and talks to me.......trying very hard not to take sides or get drawn into the conflict. Egads!!! This is a lesson in good communication. I will post more on this later.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

New York City

Well half of the folks made it back from NYC safety, the other half is stuck there because of bad weather. I am so glad that Ryss was in the early group even though she had to get up at 3 a.m. The only flight the other group can get is tomorrow into Dallas.

Hmmm, Dallas....I have friends there. So I volunteered to go and pick them up but apparently some of the parents are not happy that youth pastor is not stuck in NYC with the kids (and adults). They want him to be the one that goes to pick them up. Of course, it doesn't help that his two daughters are two of the ones stuck in the airport. Sounds silly to me. I know my way around DFW and the airport. It would be a lot easier for me to go.

So instead of a trip to Dallas I will be preaching at the contemporary worship service tomorrow night instead of the youth pastor. I'm trying to see the bright side. Oh I know, my garden survived the cold weather. Always something good to see if you look. Plus, the best of all, I got my daughter back from NYC safe and sound. She immediately passed out and I don't think I will talk to her again until tomorrow. Plus, now she thinks that the BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD TO LIVE is NYC. We are so "provincial" here. God you have to love teenagers.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sleep Issues

When I was in Texas I had severe insomnia and had to treat it with meds. I haven't had to take one sleeping pill since moving but this past week I thought I would have to take one. I determined that it was breathing issue keeping me awake (Plus, one very annoying cat.).

So yesterday I went to the drug store, bought Breath-Rite Strips and nose spray, I slept like a baby, woke up with lots of energy, accomplished a lot this morning on only one cup of tea. One problem for that darn cat.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Found written on the walls of a Nazi Concentration Camp:

"I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.
I believe in love, even when I do not feel it.
I believe in God, even when He is silent." (Author Unknown)

I remember my trip to a Concentration Camp. It touched me in ways that I cannot describe easily -- horror, compassion, empathy, anger -- I felt all of those emotions.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Luke & Garden

My little "BIG" helper.....


Today Ryss boarded an airplane for New York City. She will be spending seven days there on a mission/cultural trip. Excited does not even begin to cover how she feels right now. This is the first time, since she was old enough to remember, that she has flown. Me, on the other hand, not so happy.

So I thought how can I spend this week with her away in a productive manner. Normally, I would read, read, and read some more. Today, though, I took a page out of Barbara Kingsolvers book, and planted a garden. All kind of veggies, strawberries and cantaloupe. I planted some stuff last year but I did it in pots because I knew I was moving. One of my church friends brought his rototiller and prepared the ground for me yesterday. Today, I planted all kinds of stuff.

It kept me from feeling sorry for myself or lonely because now I am exhausted. Gardening is hard work. Since she has decided to become a vegetarian, it will hopefully save me some money at the grocery store. Hope springs eternal....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Grad School

I wonder if School's understand that it is not only their programs that can attract or lose potential and/or current students. I am seriously considering changing schools. I hate having to beg them to disburse my student loan. It is an extremely convoluted procedure. The bank/government sends them a check, then they send it to me for my signature, then I send it back to the school, where they sit on the check for one week, then they cut me a new check and finally mail it to me, whereas I finally can deposit the money. Why??

I received an email tonight that, after sitting on my money for two weeks (yes, two, not just one week), they will disburse it after the Business Manager comes back from HIS vacation. I hate needing the money. I wish that I was making what I was in the Private Sector. I don't want and won't leave the ministry over something this stupid and petty, but it is so irritating. It's not like I owe them a dime. They received all their money in January. This is MY loan. This really sucks, because the reason that I am desperate for it, is so that I can pay Duke University's TIP tuition. It's due Friday. He comes back from vacation on Thursday. I'm praying for a very, very quick turn-around.

Okay, that is my bitch session for the week. Other than this petty, petty stuff, life has been so good to me lately that I really shouldn't complain. I am going to start looking for a Spiritual Director this week. I'm not really sure about this because my last S.D. was a very organic relationship. Since the Methodist Church is a connectional system, there are some drawbacks at having a S.D. who is a member of the UM clergy. I met a female pastor who is around my age, but is a Lutheran Senior Pastor. I'm not sure that she would be a calming influence on my life though (she might be wilder than I am), which as you can see from my rant above I probably need. I recognize the need for someone to talk to, who can hold me accountable, and who I feel safe with.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New York City

So today I went to the "parent" meeting for the mission trip to New York City and I'm convinced that I should have went along too. I believe that they will be having more fun than mission.

As my daughter gets older, it seems that I am standing at the curb waving bye much more often than I like. I don't remember traveling so much when I was a least not without my parents.It's kind of poignant.

I know that I have fallen behind on my blogging, dear friends. One day I will be done with my doctorate and hopefully that will mean a little more free time.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I don't think I've mentioned "canvascommunity". It is a new church start that Trinity is birthing. I have been a part of the team since it launched last September. JB is the pastor of the community and is doing a wonderful job with it. Hopefully, we will be ready to move to a new off-site location in July.

He is doing a sermon series over U2 songs. Tonight it was over the song "Grace". The service was well attended tonight and had a lot of energy. It's kind of nice to really have no role in the worship service and be able to sit back and participate in worship. My role is with the Eucharist which we have every week. The entire ambiance is like a coffee house.

It is hard sometimes as a pastor to feel like you have really had a personal worship experience. You are concerned with logistics or preaching or something. This was nice.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


It is now two 1/2 hours since getting the final "Yes" at the BOM. And, I am so sore I can hardly move. I must have been SO tense all day long that it was like an all day exercise marathon in isometrics.

I sat down with my daughter to watch T.V. and couldn't hardly get back up. It is pretty funny. I hope that I can walk in the morning. Oh well, it was definitely worth it.

Like Cool Water on a Hot Day

I am so relieved. I finally had the opportunity to appear before the Board of Ordained Ministry.....and (will wonders never cease) I did great. They had no problems with me, no problems with my answers, and passed me.

It has been a long tough road but with the God's help and everyone that was so supportive, this step on the path to ordination is over.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and your encouragement. Now I am going to kick back and relax with my daughter.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Two Rivers

The Trinity Trekker's expedition was a lot of fun. It was bitterly cold, raining and then sleeting. Luke was soaking wet. I was soaking wet. And it was still fun. It was a nice wide, paved trail, three miles long. I only hurt a little at the end, so my knee held up for the duration. I think that wearing a brace made a big difference.

In fact, I am planning on going again on Saturday. We had the entire park to ourselves last week (I can't understand why!!). This week the weather is supposed to be in the 70's, so I expect a lot more company. Ryss is excited about going, so I can take all the dogs. Luke didn't have to be on the leash last week because he doesn't like to stray very far from me and there was no one for him to bother. I don't think I will get away with that again, unless I go when it is sleeting.

Later in the evening it started snowing. Really the first snow that I have seen since moving to Arkansas, ice yes, snow no. The important thing is that I was at home and, will miracles never cease, my furnace was working. So I was at home AND warm.

Luke slept the rest of the day and I must confess that I, too, took a nap.

The next day, Sunday, I had my first true challenge for my Lenten fast. During our Coffee Time (named Solid Grounds), one of the guys took these wonderful smelling little bread wrapped sausages out of the oven. They looked delicious and spelled delicious, my hand was reaching for them when I remembered my fast. (I know that technically on Sunday you can indulge in whatever it is you have given up for Lent but I wanted to go the entire six weeks meat-free). It was not easy passing those up.

Tomorrow, I head for Hot Springs for my interview before the Conference BOM. I am a little scared after my last experiences but I have faith that God works things out for the best. You guys can still pray for me though.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Trinity Trekker's

Today is our big walk in the park with our dogs (dogs optional). It's been planned for months. Everyone is excited. The weather was up in the 70' it is in the 30's and falling....and now it's raining. My big boy Luke will love the walk anyway. He has enough hair for two or three other dogs. His owner/Mom will not be as happy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I have decided to give up meat for Lent and to show support for my daughter who has decided to become a vegetarian. I know so much more about nutrition now then I did twenty years ago when I tried to be a vegetarian and got sick. I do need some Tofu recipes, so send them to me if you have some good ones.

I am nervous about the BOM interviews on March 5th, because of my experience in Texas. The process has been so much better here that I am feeling somewhat better, plus I do know at least one person on my first interview team. Going to all those Clergywomen Luncheons might have been a good idea after all. I don't have anyone that can go with me to the interview, so that kind of sucks, but I will take a couple of books and my IPOD (maybe my laptop).

Another issue that has been troubling me--conflict between Senior Pastor and New Church Start Pastor--has resolved itself. I had been drawn into the middle of the conflict by the SP (not a comfortable place at all). It looks like we launch the new church this summer. I am excited about that, but will miss the NCS pastor. He has become a good friend, plus our daughters are the same age and go to the same school.

Okay, I have to write ANOTHER Evangelism paper for my D.Min.....this is getting really old.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Okay, here we are again. I go before the Board of Ordained Ministry on March 5th. Everything has been going so much better than in Texas but I'm a little pessimistic about Boards. Arkansas does everything all in one day though so at least I will know at once.

So I need everyone to be praying for me on March 5th at 11 a.m. and at 6 p.m., that's when I have my two interviews before the various components of the Conference board.

Friday, February 6, 2009


So I have found a new way to waste time, Facebook. It has allowed me to keep in touch with my family in Texas, so I'm glad that I joined. It is amazing how much time can pass before you even know it.

I am going a few houses down later tonight to get to know one of my neighbors. I met her (through my Aunt) when I first moved here, but neither of us has made much of an effort until we became friends on Facebook. Ryss is going to babysit for her on Monday and we wanted a chance for all the kids to get to know each other.

The DBOM suggested that I make friends outside of the church...which is kind of hard considering I spend most of my time at church or at home working on papers and stuff. I learned in the TAC to take recommendations and suggestions as an order, it makes them much happier. The issue is that I am introverted and like to be alone.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Ryss has decided to become a vegetarian. I was a vegetarian for about two years (It happened to coincide while I was dating a vegetarian). I am going to try and diet alongside of her since I have gained back all of the weight I lost last year before I moved. (how embarrassing). I am back on track though, exercising every day, eating right, and all that other good stuff.

So you are my accountability group, feel free to email me and keep me on the right track.

A Time to Write

Usually I am running to and fro, hospital visits, planning and leading Bible Study's, prayer groups, mission team events, etc. Finding time to write doctoral papers and/or blogs is getting harder and harder to find. Luckily I have a Senior Pastor who also worked on her doctorate while serving a large membership church and she is giving me a day off to write every week.

I wish I had something profound to write here but so far things are going so well my lingering pagan side wants to start knocking on wood. I am teaching a class over Stephen Job's on the Three General Rules of John Wesley. He took something that has been a part of our heritage and turned it into a money-making proposition. Cokesbury has displays of his little book, his new journal, his DVD, his Bible Study. I need to learn from a guy like this.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Getting Older

Yesterday, my child got her Learner's Permit. I don't think that I am up for teaching her how to drive. This cannot be a good thing.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Social Networking

Well, I finally joined Facebook. I was using our old laptop and I guess I got a little bit ahead of myself (clicking buttons). Anyway, my daughter called me horrified, "Mom, you said on Facebook that You LIKE GIRLS". I told her I had not even filled out those questions. She wouldn't just let it wait until the next day to fix it......she is worried that I will never get remarried.

I thought it was hilarious, she thought it was horrifying. It is fun to freak your kids out!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Okay, today's classes are more my kind of thing ---- Evangelism through Missions. Professor said, "Bible studies aren't the way to reach people." I can really get into this way of evangelism or as George Hunter would say, "The celtic way of evangelism".

This is much more in line with my way of thinking. So maybe I am an evangelist after all.

Monday, January 12, 2009


The seminar this week is over Evangelism. The first day is going pretty good. Jeff (one of my Covenant Group friends from Tyler) was a presenter over new church starts. It was fun listening to him. And as I listen to some of my fellow students, they are all commenting about what a great job he did. So....whay to go, Jeff!!

Most of the books assigned by our professors are all over "Emergent" churches. I kind of wish they would have consulted each other and given us a few different perspectives. Ah, well...

Don't get me wrong, I love the concept of emergent churches. However, not all of us are at a point in our lives where we can be a part of that movement and could have used a few pointers in our current ministry situations.