Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The time has come...again

I've been very quiet not only the blogosphere but in my real world as well.  In September I met with the district board of ordained ministry in order to move on to the next step in the ordination process.  For a myriad of reasons I was not approved to meet with the conference board of ordained ministry.  Yes, this was hurtful and irritating but something very good has come out of it.  2 members of the board came and spoke with me about the reasons why I was not passed on to the conference board--it boiled down to me not presenting my true self.  Instead of presenting me, they felt that I was holding back, trying to tame my edges, trying to be that person the board would approve rather than being myself.  At first I was offended by this, a little bit anyway.  I'm always who I am--I don't try to be anyone else.  But sometimes, often times, too often, I do hold back, limit what I say, tame those edges.

Throughout CPE I was reminded that God called ME into ministry--not some shadow of myself.  And yet, I haven't been fully living it out.

A few weeks ago, I had a terrible sermon.  It started out fine, thankfully it ended fine, but in the middle of it I nearly broke down and gave up.  There were things my heart was longing to say but I was afraid to say them.  Finally, I spilled some of what was on my heart.  No one was offended, no one was mad.  It was fine. 

It's been bothering me that after nearly 3.5 years I'm still afraid to speak my heart.  In some ways I think it's gotten worse rather than better.  I feel as though I am liked and even loved by my congregations.  However, instead of freeing me, I think I've been pulled deeper into the fear of losing the love and respect I've been given.  Of finally saying that one thing that will push everyone away.

There used to be a loud outspoken woman who didn't worry so much about what others said or thought.  Then this woman became withdrawn, tenuous in speaking, caring a great deal about what others thought or said, wanting to be liked and loved.  But that is not the woman God called to ministry.  That is not even the woman I feel comfortable being, that's not who I am in my heart of hearts.

When I went to seminary it felt like coming home to myself after many years of "mom" defining who I was.  In some ways it's like I've gotten lost in the shuffle again.  Now pastor defines me.  Pastor, not preacher, not mom, not wife, not outspoken, funny, and loud.

A good friend of mine recently said, "You have great ideas but the problem is that you don't share them."  This much was true in seminary as well, rarely would I speak in class.  There were times and there were moments in which I was brave and offensive and those are the moments I am most proud.  Those were moments that mattered.  Those were the reasons God called me into ministry--not to simply be a pastor--a caretaker of God's beloved.  That's one part but I also need to be a leader, a provoker, a preacher.

I'm good at comforting, taking care of others, and even of teaching and explaining, but once upon a time I was called to be a prophet.  That time has come again, I can feel God calling me to trust, to go to be who God called me to be fully and completely without reserve.

I can't be silent, quiet, anymore.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Those kids...

Raising children is hard.  Raising tweens is hard.  Raising teenagers is hard.

Not just hard, it's heartbreaking.

One of my favorite lines about parenting is that it's like watching your heart walk around outside of one's body. 

A few days ago I was driving to a volleyball game listening to music from 20 years ago.  As Tracy Chapman's "This Time" began to play I couldn't help but cry.  There are 3 albums that I listened to nonstop during a very depressed and broken time when I was 19--Tracy Chapman's self-titled album & Crossroads, and the Indigo Girls's self-titled album.  It never fails that as soon as a song from one of those cds plays I remember all the heartache and emotions of that time in my life.  It transports me to that time in my life but it's not like a flashback and it's not emotionally crippling.  This last time I cried during "This Time" I cried for the girl I was, wishing that I could hold her and tell her that everything would be okay.  I wanted to assure her that life was going to be wonderful and good.

Today, I wish I could hold my middle girl and tell her the same.  Of course I tried but I'm sure she didn't hear it.  I know her nearly 40 year old self couldn't break through.  I fear walking those years with my girls.  I know how tender and fragile I was, I was close to ending it all and never making it to 40.  I hope and pray my girls don't know, don't experience walking on the edge of life, of sanity in the way that I did.

Some days I remember that they have a life that I did not.  They have two parents who love and care for them, there's no abuse.  As my eldest pointed out yesterday, she and one other kid in her class are the only two kids who have homes in which their parents don't fight all the time and aren't already or in the process of divorce.  We're not perfect but our life is good.

Then some days, I wonder about how much genes play a role in our lives.  Are they doomed to struggles with depression and anxiety due to my lovely gene pool?  I know better.  I know it's a mix of both.  I pray that they have it easier than I did but will be as compassionate, loving, and strong as I grew to be because of my struggles.  I hope they can learn through my mistakes and make their own that aren't quite as devastating.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rough draft for Pentecost...feedback is appreciated!


It’s that time of year again…it’s Pentecost.  Pentecost as in Pentecostal…some of us are not so comfortable with that term as it brings to mind talking in tongues (not the same kind of tongue talking we just read in Acts 2), mumbling prayers, hands waving, and perhaps some snake handling.  Pentecost in and of itself means 50, 50 days had passed since Passover, 50 days since the stone was rolled away from the tomb and Mary thought she was talking to the gardener but was speaking with Jesus.  50 days doesn’t have much to do with holy languages, prayer, hand waving and certainly nothing to do with snakes.  But it’s what happened on that 50th day that the disciples were gathered, waiting for a word, waiting for the Word, waiting for Jesus that changed everything, that has to do with prayer, hand waving, the languages we speak…I think we’re best to leave the snakes to themselves. 

50 days since Easter for them and their time together was turned upside down, people where hearing the gospel in languages that they could understand, Peter—the one who never got anything right, stood up and spoke eloquently assuring the crowds that the men and women speaking in these varied languages were not drunk…after all, it was only 9am in the morning!  Peter—the one who always spoke too soon, constantly needing to retrieve his foot from his mouth, this same Peter was now standing before the crowd of witnesses, testifying that  the prophet Joel’s words had come true—young men  and women, yes women!  Men and women were prophesying, the young were having visions while the old ones dream powerful dreams and all were coming together so that we, you and I, 2000+ years later might know that there is more than existential angst, that we too might dream dreams and see visions, and come to know the resurrected Jesus, not only in stories but through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Some hand waving seems appropriate doesn’t it?  Thanks be to God, that we can know Christ, that we can feel the power of the Holy Spirit blowing upon our lives, whispering in our ears.

But we look around our gathering this morning; do we see visions of the young and old?  Do we see flaming tongues or hear howling winds of the Holy Spirit?  Do we secretly wonder if the Spirit of God is no longer in this place? 

This weekend at Annual Conference, I listened to a young man speak of his dreams.  He dreamt that God was walking beside him, they walked upon a street in Belize, walked from the street and into a small cramped factory, a sweatshop where a little girl came up to the young man and said “Help.”  This young man was up the rest of the night trying to decide if this meant he needed to go to Belize or if it was that he needed to look and listen to those who cry out for help.  Or perhaps both.  As he spoke, there was a fire burning within him, the fire of Pentecost.  As I listened to him, I thought of Peter’s words, your old will dream dreams and your young will have visions.  The time has come!  Not merely 2000 years ago, 50 days after that first Easter but today, there are young men and women with vision for our church.  There are older folks with dreams for our church.  We are the body of Christ as we join together and work to make disciples for the transformation of the world. 

God has not left us alone, God is with us, God has sent the paraclete, the Holy Spirit to guide us, to comfort us, to argue with us when we sit in the face of injustice.  Today we celebrate the birthday of the church—what gift will we bring?  What gift will we bring to the body of Christ redeemed by Christ’s blood, one in each other, one in ministry to all the world?  While at Annual Conference this weekend, a friend of mine suggested that our United Methodist mission statement was backward—Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and what we should be doing is Transforming the world to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  How often does the world look upon Christians and see nothing but hypocrisy, hate, intolerance, self-righteousness?  Perhaps if we spoke less and worked more, they might see our love, our grace, our peace, and our concern for the world that God so loved and was willing to become one of us, willing to die upon that cross, and refused to let death and hate be the end of the story.  This young man who dreamed of a little girl needing help in Belize, suggested something along these lines as well—he said that in the church we say we must build the church so we can do missions, but perhaps we must do missions so that we can build the church.

This young man that spoke at Annual Conference is not the lone voice in the wilderness.  We too have youth with dreams and visions for our church and the Church.  The question is do we listen?  Do we listen and do were hear even if the gospel is spoken in a language unlike ours?  Can we let the Holy Spirit translate for us, so we might hear the vision and understand?  Listen, listen!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Authority--a word study

I had so much fun writing this for CPE I thought I'd share it with you. 


As long as I can recall, I've had "authority issues."  It was no surprise to receive word from the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist, and that they wanted me to work on issues of authority.  Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of their request was that they perceived me as not "claiming my authority."  I did not receive instructions about needing to respect their authority, rather I needed assistance in learning to claim and own my very own authority as a pastor.  I came to CPE prepared to further explore my "authority issues."

The word, authority, originally has to do with the work of an author or master of some trade/education.  The word, author, needs some of its own exegetical work.  According to the Online Etymology Dictionary (crafted by Douglas Harper)[1] an author is one who fathers or masters a particular subject or thing and even "one who causes to grow."  Currently, one associates authorship with a book--the author should be well informed of her subject and thus is hopefully masterful/fully knowledgeable and experienced with her subject and hence then trustworthy.  Authority then should inspire others to trust--to trust in the words, advice, and/or creation of what is offered.  That authority comes from knowing and being well-versed, or even a creator of the particular subject of consideration.  As with most words and things--in and of itself it is innocuous and simply a thing to be used--how one uses that thing or word is what creates the stir--not the thing in and of itself.

Authors and authority should, at their best use, inspire trust and safety.  However, in my personal experiences I've known plenty of people who have claimed authority and used it in nefarious ways.  As a member of "Generation X" I have been indoctrinated into automatically distrusting those who loudly and proudly proclaim their authority.  I am part of a generation who grew up on scandals and the exposing of hypocrisy especially in religious and political arenas.  I learned early to "question authority."  Question authority I did and continue to do so.  I do not implicitly trust anyone, especially those who want to give proscriptions to myself and others.  And yet, I heard God's calling on my life and choose to follow that calling by giving myself over to the authorities of the church.  I long for their approval and am willing to give much of myself in order to receive it.

As a young child, the first authority figures in my life--my mother and father--were complex and complicated as we humans tend to be.  My father filled with anger and rage, fueled by intense emotions, expressed himself in both loving and terrifying moments.  There was little to trust--I trusted that there would be pain and tears to accompany his love.  My mother fled from his wrathful and jealous love, leaving me with him, trying to take comfort in the belief that he'd never hurt me and knowing that in doing so she protected the lives of her parents and herself.  There was little to trust--I trusted that I could rely only on myself.  I learned to take others with a grain of salt--to protect myself by intuiting others' emotions and what they wanted or expected me to do or say.  I learned not to trust.

The word authority grew from being an " invention, advice, opinion, influence, command"[2] from a creator/master/father/one who causes growth into something with "power to enforce obedience."[3]  Unfortunately, whenever we begin to believe that we have the answers or the right idea we also begin to believe that we must force others to go along if we can't persuade them by our tongues--this is part of our human brokenness, our wanting to be God.  Sometime in the 14th century we moved from an author who causes growth into an authority which can use force to get its way, to make others play by our rules.[4]

It is this enforcing where authority has gone wrong, lost its way.  Real authority is authority that is given out of trust and respect--it does not need to enforce.  Real authority is like love--it is freely received, it does not force.  Serious authority relies on trust, the inspiration that comes from the one who is able to cause growth.  Serious authority, the authority that inspires fear in all the fakers--all those who'd use force to get their way--does not need force, it is freely given and freely received.  This is the authority that is hard to embody, to incarnate.  This is the authority that I wish to live out in my personhood and in my ministry.  I reject authority that requires force or a voice (ala Cartman) squealing "Respect my authority!"

So how does this authority even begin to get lived out?  This authority begins with grace, humility, and love.  This is the kind of authority ministry requires--this authority that causes things to grow is exactly what the church needs, it's what we all need.  We've had enough of the authorities that put a stop to life, that demand, that command, that must be ordered.  We need authority that encourages trust, loyalty, and causes life to grow.

I hope to live out this authority in my ministry by listening to the people in my congregations as well as by having an ear to the community and hearing what those on the margins are saying and needing.  In these 9 months I've learned that the best use of my authority comes from remembering who I am, what my purpose is, and from whom it comes.  I have no need to enforce my authority on others, even when questioned.  Neither must I bow to those who question my authority, instead I remain calm and follow through on my purpose.  My authority cannot be taken away--it can only be freely accepted and freely given.



[1] http://www.etymonline.com/columns/bio.htm.  4/30/2011.  "Douglas Harper is a historian, author, journalist and lecturer based in Lancaster, Pa."  Harper also provides a list of his sources, more information on his biography and overall "checks out."
[2] http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=authority 4/30/2011
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.  Supposedly this comes from the French!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rejoicing?

Facebook is lit up with the news of Osama Bin Laden's death.  The news shows US Americans cheering, singing, and shouting in joy about his death.
I am sickened by our response.

I remember the outcries and the pain that came from watching videos of Al Queda's people cheering with joy at our pain and the loss of US Americans' lives on Sept. 11th.  I can't help but think about how our cries mimic theirs.  Both filled with hate and anguish, pain and punishment, revenge and terror.  Truly we are not so different.

Do we really believe this will be the end of Al Queda?  Do we really believe that this will somehow end the hate of the terrorists?  Do we really believe that we in the USA are now safer?

Even if his death somehow made us safer, our response that will be broadcast across the globe will not.  Won't the world wonder how we can cheer at the death of another human being?  Yes, Osama Bin Laden was an evil and horrible man  but shall we cheer his death?

Someone I love dearly is somewhere in the Middle East right now.  She is there with many other men and women soldiers putting their lives on the line.  I'm more worried about her and the rest of them now than I have been for months.

It doesn't take a long view of history, nor a long study of human behavior to know that killing the leader of a movement or gang or terrorist cell does not mean the death of the organization.  Often enough it makes the movement, gang, or terrorist cell stronger and angrier, more violent than ever.

I don't know what the solution is.  I know enough to realize that if we ever caught Osama Bin Laden he wasn't going to make it out alive.  I'm not even sure he should have made it out alive.  I'm not sure he didn't "deserve" his death.  However, I am sure that rejoicing in another's death, especially as a nation, is dangerous business.  I am sure that rejoicing in hate and violence will only stir up and bring more hate and violence upon us.

I do understand how those personally effected by the Al Queda terrorist attacks might feel like rejoicing.  Their pain is huge and understandable.  Osama Bin Laden is the face that they have blamed for these many years, he was a murderous bastard.  I get their anger and their relief that he is finally dead but the dancing in the streets, the cries of joy?

My mind keeps wondering back to the cross.  Jesus forgave his enemies while he was at the cross.  Those same enemies that nailed his hands into the same cross.  He forgave them.  2000 years later, have we learned anything?  Have we understood it yet? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Language

I picked up a book, The Incredible Woman: Listening to Women's Silences in Pastoral Care and Counseling, to add to my CPE bibliography (that and our final is due on May 9) and get all the required number of pages read.  I've just read the first chapters which have a lot to do with language for God. The thing that kills me is that despite the book being published in 1996, this issue--language for God--is still a major issue in most churches.  I know it's huge in my churches--if I were to use Mother God, Holy Mother, or heaven forbid, Goddess, I'd probably get kicked out of my pulpit.  Seriously!
I try to use non-gendered language for God because I believe it is faithful to a bigger image of God, it is faithful to the reality of God.  In the first few months of being here I had a conversation with someone about this.  The person pleaded with me not to repeat his thought that perhaps, just perhaps, the Holy Spirit was feminine.  He was ashamed to even think such a thing!  I went on to ask him if he seriously thought it was important that God had a penis.  His response was yes!  I was blown away.  A bit later during a women's Bible study, I breached the subject of  God language again.  Once more I was surprised by the resistance.  Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised but I was. 

As I continued to read and my frustration mounted that this is still a tremendous issue I was also frustrated by myself.  In three years, I've broached the subject twice.  That's it.  No wonder the issue hasn't changed...if I'm not willing to risk educating the people in my churches, then how can I expect anyone else to do so in theirs? 

Our newsletter is due out tomorrow...so do I make God language the focus of my pastoral letter?   i wish I could just whole heartedly jump in and say yes.  But our little corner of the world is the most conservative place I've ever lived.  The newsletter is there in black and white.  I'm not sure it would be the best way to go about it.  There's no (or little) opportunity for  feedback and questions.  I do believe that this is best done when in a relational kind of class,study, conversation.  So there, I just talked myself out of the newsletter but I'm not letting myself off the hook.  Mother's Day is just around the corner and that is a perfect opportunity to bring it up.

What do you do in your setting?

PS...I'm thrilled to watch Christina Aquilera on The Voice!

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Life for the Blog

I've been reading "Life From Scratch" by Melissa Ford.  It's a great read and has rekindled my desire to blog. 

Last week I was considering completely taking down the blog.  I've been a bad blogger for a long time, nearly three years!  This was supposed to chronicle my journey from seminary to rural ministry but it's been hit and miss.  It's understandable, life is busy and I was burned pretty badly by the unnamed small town in Kansas' response to my seminary blog.  The scars from that incident serve as reminders to beware of what I post online.  In no way is this an anonymous blog and so I must be a bit guarded.

Life From Scratch has reminded me how powerful and wonderful it is to connect with others, to have a  place for your voice to be heard (no matter how small the "readership").  I miss the conversations and connections I've had with other bloggers...especially other Rev Gals

So, today, the day after celebrating the Resurrection and new life, I promise myself to renew my blog, to give new life to my voice. 

May 9th is the final day of Clinical Pastoral Education.  May 11th is the final day of our preaching group (although I do hope to renew that group this fall).  Life will get "freed up" just a bit and then I will be running off to the Festival of Homiletics--hooray!  I'm unrealistically hoping this will give me some extra time and freedom.  The reality though is that I simply need to make time for me to write--on and off the blog.

Monday, April 4, 2011

still a writer?

i've struggled to write for at least the past 2 years, probably longer.  for a while i was sure that i was a writer and that it was in my blood.  however, since i've been in full-time ministry it's become the most difficult thing i do. 

even the daily devos that i write and email to the congregation has moved from each email being written by myself to me "assembling them" with favorite quotes and the like.  i actually think that is a postive, as the emails offer a broader scope of theology and Christianity.

but i wonder what is going on?  what do i need to do to find that spark that ignites my creativity?  i wish i could say my creativity has simply found other outlets but that's not the case either.  i don't feel depressed.  is this simply a lack of discipline?

how about you?  thoughts?  suggestions?

Friday, April 1, 2011

RevGal Friday 5: Good Things Edition

Kathrynzj writes, "So for today I am asking for five quick picks of things that are good in your life. And as a bonus, 1 pick for a thing you could do without."

5 good things I'm thankful for are:
  1. My family--Joel, Merkin, Valerie, and Ainsley and I are crazy nerds that fight and fuss but together we can face whatever life throws at us.  They fill my life with joy and insanity and I couldn't be happier that they are mine!
  2. Fabulous friends--this past week I was blessed to spend time with some wonderful women with whom I attended seminary.   I realized how much I need these women and other equally fabulous women in my life to keep my grounded and reminded of who I am.
  3. Fridays--Fridays are supposed to be my day off, my Sabbath.  Often I find myself working on Fridays, especially ones that come right after being gone for a week!  Yet, even when I find myself working, it's on my schedule and I do so feeling relaxed and not stressed out (at least this Friday!).
  4. Zumba--it's a fun way to get some exercise and a step in the right direction for my health.
  5. Confirmation Class--I love my confirmation class.  It's full of excitement and great discussions.  I love the interactions of the youth and their mentors.  It's refreshing and reminds me of what fuels my faith.
1 thing I could do without is shame.  What would one day free from shame feel like?  Not feeling any shame, not shaming anyone else...shame is one thing I (and probably everyone else) could do without.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wade in the Water--UMC Southern Jurisdictional Clergy Women's Conference

I just made my flight reservations and completed my online registration!  If there are any RevGals going it'd be great to have a mini-meet up!

I've never been to New Orleans and I'll be rooming with one of my favorite women in the whole world--possibly 2 of them! 

I need to double check but I think there is even a Tennessee Williams festival going on that week!  I can hardly wait!

Friday, February 4, 2011

RevGal Friday 5: Ministry Perks

kathrynzj asks "What are the perks of ministry for you?" Thanks for asking kathrynzj! 

My 5 favorite perks of ministry
  1. We only work 1 day a week!  Right?!?!?  Ok, so maybe not but our hours are flexible which can be both the best and worst of worlds. Given the snowpacalypse of this week, I'm feeling very grateful for this perk.
  2. We get to ask and wrestle with the "big questions"--that is actually our job!  I LOVE this!
  3. We are invited into the holy moments of people's lives.
  4. Reading is a job requirement!
  5. Creativity counts--sometimes I forget this and get stuck in my personal ruts and/or the ruts of my churches but then there are days in which I remember that my job is to help others ask the big questions, invite others into holy moments and holy lives, work for the Kingdom (justice and peace), and walk with people in this journey to God--wow!  It's freeing and I remember that creativity, like reading, is a job requirement!  How cool is that? 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Update

It turns out that I am magic!  My unicorn horn has been deemed an insignificant benign osteoma.  I deny that my horn in insignificant and is definately magical!

It was a relief to find that it's nothing to worry about.  I did find out that I have chronic sinuitis and am on some crazy antibiotic that they also give to people who've been exposed to anthrax!  It's tearing up my stomach so perhaps I'll lose some weight while I'm on it these next two weeks. 

Thanks for your support through all of this!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ramblings on Shane C., my call, and CHURCH

This weekend I was honored to listen to Shane Claiborne talk about his life, grace, reconciliation, and God's radical love.  The thing about Shane is that he lives what he says he believes.  This is something that puts a lump in my throat. 

While we were at the conference, I said to Merkin "This is stuff that will get me kicked out of church if I speak it on Sunday" (only partly in jest).  The more Shane spoke the more I wondered if the corporate church can be the CHURCH in a radical way, in a Jesus way, in a living out loud sort of way.  As much as I want to say yes, I'm not sure it's possible. 

I can't quote precisely, nor confidently say this came from Bonhoeffer but he supposedly said that pastors/preachers cannot depend on the church for their income--it's too compromising.  I know this to be true for myself.  What I long to say, I hold back out of fear.  Sometimes it's fear of being written off, sometimes its fear of hurting someone else, sometimes its fear that it will get me kicked out of the church.

I've been struggling lately with my call.  I'm questioning if I can be, should be an ordained pastor in the UMC.  I'm wondering if I should even be a pastor in any denomination unless I'm preaching as a weekend gig, where I'm earning money building tents or something during the week.

This weekend wasn't much help.  Yet, I do believe that if we don't have anyone inside the church calling us to task, calling us to be accountable to Christ Jesus then there is no way the church will be CHURCH.  I do want to be that person/preacher/christian!

I'm grateful that I'm not preaching this weekend.  It gives me time to think.  Before going to WOW I was planning a sermon series using Adam Hamilton's Enough.  I think I'll be adding some radical Shane to it and ask some of these questions to the church.  How else can we be the CHURCH?  Gotta start somewhere!

Friday, January 21, 2011

RevGal Friday 5: Books!

Jan writes, So tell us what you're reading, what you would and would not recommend--five books or authors!

I would highly recommend:


  1. Toni Morrison--anything written by Ms. Morrison is fantastically lyrical, inspiring, and thought provoking.  The Bluest Eye and Beloved are two that come immediately to mind.  Currently, Burn this Book is on my Kindle waiting to be read.  It's next in line after Annie Dillard's The Writing Life.






2.  Debbie Blue is co-pastor at House of Mercy in St. Paul, MN. Her writing and preaching is earthy, honest, and irresistible!    Her two published books are Sensual Orthodoxy and From Stone to Living Word--don't miss either!  I hope she has another coming out soon!








3.  Joyce Rupp--I feel as though I'm indulging in those folks you already know but just this morning I was thinking about how it was time to read and journal through Cup of Life again.  It is one of the few books that I've worked through the entire thing and surely its the only one I enjoyed and want to do over!  It was and continues to be very helpful to my spiritual development.  Now, can I find my copy, or have I given it to someone else and it's not been returned, do I need another copy?





4,  This one sort of feels like cheating, she's a professor at Saint Paul School of Theology and is an amazing woman, teacher, writer, and human being.  Thus far she's only published one book but I look forward to reading more and I'm sure she's published many journal articles, just keep your eyes and ears open and when you read or hear her name pay attention!  Oh yes, her name is Dr. Rev. Angela D. Sims!



5.  Just for fun (I need to add one of her books to my reading list!) is Sharan Newman for her Catherine Levendeur MysteriesThese are so much fun to read!  To be honest I had no idea she wrote anything else but after visiting her website I'll have to more thoroughly check her out!


Currently reading (on my new Kindle!):
  1. Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity by Adam Hamilton
  2. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
  3. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  4. Fearless Confessions:  A Writer's Guide to Memoir by Sue Silverman
  5. The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord's Prayer
  6. The Woman's Bible by Elizabeth Cady Stanton
  7. Biblical Interpretation:  A Roadmap by Frederick C. Tiffany and Sharon H. Ringe
Who Wouldn't I Recommend?  Honestly I can't think of many.  I certainly have authors and books I don't like---the awful Twilight series (really?  ick!) and there is one author I read in seminary that I have tried to erase from my mind but it was powerful reading this idiot because I learned a lot about the scary theology some folks have.  I'll have to pass on bagging on any books or authors other than Twilight and the nameless idiot.  I figure that he's not worthy of gracing my blog and well, the woman who wrote Twilight--she can take it with all of the millions she's surely raking in.  This was great fun, thanks Jan!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Festival of Homies

I'm excited to report that I just registered for the Festival of Homiletics!  I've wanted to attend for a few years but timing and finances didn't seem to work.  However, when I saw it was going to be in Minneapolis I had to find a way to go!  I LOVE Minneapolis and if I go a day early I can visit House of Mercy--the church Rev. Debbie Blue helped to start and with any luck she'll be preaching that Sunday!

I'm not sure if I'll drive or fly (anyone feel like a roadtrip?).  I'm hoping to find a roomie, so if you're interested please email me.  It'd be great to have a RevGal meet-up at the Festival of Homies.  I know they've had some in the past and hope there will be another this year.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Results

Sometimes the doctoring process makes me want to scream!  The MRI showed 2 things...I have chronic sinuitis which is causing the headaches and that I have a 7mm "coritcal(?) growth on my frontal bone of my skull.  DUH!  That's why I went in for the MRI!  Apparently the MRI doesn't read bone so well and now I have to get a CT scan of my head. 

The good news is that "It's not a tumor!"  I didn't think it was.  The doctor never mentioned that either. 

Thanks for all of your prayers and wonderful support.  I truly appreciate it.  It'll be a while before I know anything else as I probably won't get the Ct scan until Friday and then results the following week.  At least I know it's not urgent or really worrisome!  When I was pregnant one of the most frustrating things the doctors would say is "oh, sometimes that happens" and now I'm hoping to hear those same words.  I'm confident I will.

Friday, January 14, 2011

RevGal F5: Time to Get Up

SingingOwl writes,
Where I am it is dark, and it is cold, and it is snowing. I really wanted to stay in bed with the electric blanket cranked this morning. Share five things that made getting out of bed worthwhile for you today!
Well, SingingOwl, you've made an especially difficult F5!  But I'm going to try to play along!
  1. Hopefully, I will get my MRI results today.  Hopefully, I will hear something like "Oh, sometimes this happens and there's nothing you need to worry about." or "Wow!  I now believe that unicorns are real!" please see Snow Day 2 for further explanation
  2. One last swig of Creme Brule creamer for one cup o' joe. 
  3. End of Year reports....oh wait, that makes me want to go back to bed and hide until January is over!
  4. My Kindle....I can't wait to read The Centurian's Wife, Things Fall Apart, The Greatest Prayer, Biblical Interpretation--A Road MapThe Woman's Bible (by Elizabeth Cady Stanton), and many others.  I love the Kindle because I like to switch between books all the time and it's so much easier with the Kindle than lugging 2 or 3 or more books in my bag!  I hate to admit it but it's more screen time and somehow that is helpful/appealing/strangely comforting (egads!  what's happened to me?!?!).  I was thrilled to find The Centurian's Wife for free on Amazon because one of our little old ladies LOVES this book and has been after me to read it for at least 2 years and now I finally am!  I can't wait to go and visit her to let her know!  Thus far it's a fun read.
  5. To see my family off to school.  I have an overnight at Heartland (CPE duty) tonight so if I wanted hugs from my girls and a kiss from my hubby I'd have to get them this morning or wait until tomorrow morning as I'll have to leave prior to their coming home. (wahwah)
Bonus:  It's RevGal Friday 5! It's a new year and I'm determined to get back to writing and RevGal Friday 5s are great helps! 

Too good not to share...from Inward/Outward a Project of Church of the Saviour

God Says Yes to Me

by Kaylin Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I did it!

Thanks to some valium and my friend, Susan, I did it!  The MRI is over and now we wait to hear from the doc.  Whew!

Thanks for your sweet thoughts, prayers, and support!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Clausterphobic

I found out that I am clausterphobic yesterday.  As the technician covered my eyes, stopped up my ears, padded my head so I couldn't move, my heart began to race.  As I slid into the MRI machine I felt as if I couldn't breathe.  I was freaking out and squeezed the bulb in my hand.  He was kind, patiently talked with me but I wasn't going back in.  He sent me to the hospital where they have a larger machine--perhaps if it wasn't such a tight fit I'd be okay.  She walked me back and let me just lie down and go into the machine to see if that would make a difference.  It didn't. 

I've never experienced anything like that before.  I'm the girl that just sucks it up and moves on.  I didn't.  I called the doctor and asked for some valium.  I'm going back in tomorrow morning, prepped with valium.  I pray it works.  I feel like a nut.  It's a tiny block of time--less than an hour.  It freaks me out just thinking about it.  I've never taken valium before, I hope it knocks me out or at least makes me not care about the procedure.

It's just an hour, I can do anything for an hour.  Right?  I hope.  I need to hear that this stupid bump is no big deal so I can stop worrying and my headaches will go away.  The headaches started when I began to worry, not while the bump was growing so they're definately pyschosomatic.

The simple fact is that unicorns are real and I must have touched one once and had some of that magic imparted to me.

The girls have a half day--perhaps this afternoon we should watch The Last Unicorn, I've always loved that show.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day #2

It finally arrived and now we have 2 snow days!  Hopefully not 3--there is a limit to how much family togetherness we can take without verbally, emotionally, or physically harming one another!

Don't get me wrong, I love my girls.  I love my husband.  I love my mother.  I love my mother and father in-law.  No, we're not like Charlie Bucket's family in which both sets of grandparents lived with them (and shared a huge bed!).  Our parents live far from us.  This weekend both sets came to visit.  It's been great, yesterday we played Hand and Foot for at least 6 hours (enjoyed until the last 2 rounds).  We've watched a movie or two, cooked many meals together, and overall had a great time.  But it's been longer than 3 days, today makes day 5.  It's smelling a bit fishy around here!

Thankfully this afternoon I have to get out of the house--I'm getting an MRI.  It's probably nothing but my doctor wants to be sure.  See, I have a "unicorn bump."  For the past 7 years, or so, I've entertained  the kids' friends by telling them I'm part unicorn and the proof was when they felt my forehead--there's a rigid notch like the nub of a unicorn horn that's just beginning to sprout.  It's hard, like bone, otherwise I probably would have gone to the doctor earlier and asked about it.  It never hurt nor caused any disturbances.  But a few weeks ago as we ate dinner, Valerie said, "Mom, I can SEE your unicorn horn!"  She was right, it's grown.  Before you couldn't see it, only feel it.  Now that it's visible and potentially embarrassing I went to the doc.   After a few laughs about my unicorn bump she suggested an MRI. 

Ever since I noticed it had grown I've been having headaches--I'm fairly certain it's psychosomatic.  Perhaps I really am part  unicorn.  One never truly knows.  Hopefully, the MRI will tell us something so I can quit with the psychotic headaches!

We haven't heard from my in-laws today, FiL was ready to hit the road last night but MiL was prepared to stay until the roads are safe.  I think I'd like to have one more round of Hand and Foot so I could hopefully redeem myself from yesterday's game.  Hopefully, tomorrow everyone will be back to school, work, and driving home safely.