Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Visit me at my new digs

I've moved over to Wordpress...come and visit me at RevHipChick's Fresh Start . I hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Yesterday I checked in with someone who interviewed me for a position that I didn't get. It was terrible. I heard that the job was essentially mine but I blew the interview. It was a team interview, 2 of the people knew me and really wanted me to get the job. But when I interviewed, I gave vague answers. I wasn't specific enough. Then came the words I was loathe to hear,"We know she knows this stuff. She's amazing. But she didn't tell us." These are haunting words for me. They are the same words I heard during the ordination process in Misery. The people who knew me on my boards were disappointed because I didn't shine. I didn't share who I was. I didn't demonstrate my knowledge and capabilities. For a few years I've told the story that it was politics that did't allow me to be ordained. But now I'm sure it was something far more disturbing than policitics. It was myself. I stood in my own way. Just as I blew this recent interview for a job I would have rocked and loved. I'm not sure what that is about. My husband says I need to get an interview coach. I'm not sure if I need an interview coach or a shrink.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I dreamt of Elizabeth last night.  She was dying.  I wrapped her in blankets and told her I loved her while her body turned cold and her breathing stopped.  It's made my morning difficult.  Instead of helping my girls get ready for school my brain is obsessing over Elizabeth.  Her smile, how she made me laugh, how she inspired me.  Her husband too.  Mowing his crazy yard with a rope that tied him to the porch so that he wouldn't fall down the hill.  Leonard was quiet but after Elizabeth died we became close too.

Being a pastor was such a blessing.  There are so many people that I would not have loved and known had it not been for being their pastor.  It's crazy but this morning, I began to wonder who I'm missing out on knowing and loving.

It's a reversal from my first year of ministry.  At the end of my first year of full time ministry, Janis, a woman I dearly loved died unexpectedly.  I never thought I'd get over having to do her funeral.  I was angry with God.  Why had I been called to love and care for people only to have them die and to say good-bye.  Janis was my mom away from home.

It seemed cruel.  And now I miss it.  I miss pastoral visits, listening, praying, and loving people I'd otherwise never know.

I've been remembering "church" leading, preaching, teaching.  I've been glad to leave ministerial alliance meetings, annual conference, and the politics of church.  Today, I've remembered the very hard and yet wonderful things of loving and caring and even saying good-bye.

Maybe one day I'll get to be the pastor again.  For now, I'll love and care for the people entrusted to my care at CASA.  Hopefully there won't be nearly as many good-byes.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Thanks be to God!

I've been crying tears of joy this morning--life feels good again!

I'm working for a fabulous organization with absolutely amazing people.  People I totally like and respect and adore.

Joel will be teaching 1st grade this fall.  He's finally able to live his dream of being a teacher.

Valerie is growing stronger each day and has performed at church and a poetry slam at a college!

Ainsley is excited about middle school and is doing better than she has in months.

Merkin was elected student body president at her high school--the girl that had been through hell last year has shone through and not let it hold her back.  I am amazed and inspired by her.  I am inspired by all three of my girls who had their lives ripped apart last summer and have struggled to put it back together.

We have made it to the other side!  Thanks be to God!

We have one more step--getting our own place.  I know it's on the horizon.

Thanks be to God!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A year ago today, Palm Sunday, I announced to my church that we would be leaving at the end of June.  It also happened to be April 1st, April Fool's Day.  When the tears rolled down my face the congregation knew I wasn't joking.

As I sat in a church pew this morning, tears rolled from my eyes once more.  A year after announcing my resignation, I am beginning a new journey.  I start my new job at CASA of the Pike's Peak Region tomorrow morning.

It seems as though things have come full circle as we embark upon Holy Week once more.  Last Palm Sunday I began the task of saying good-bye to the congregations and those I came to love deeply.  This Palm Sunday I prepare to start a new job, a new ministry.

I could not have predicted the multiple changes and struggles we have faced this past year.  In many ways it was a year of death, loss, and pain.  I hope and pray that this year will be one of resurrection, new beginnings, and joy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Scrapping the Plan

Last week I had two interviews--one working as a case manager/program counselor at a prison and the other as a case supervisor for an organization that protects children.  Two interesting and challenging places to work.  Two jobs I'd love and be honored to have.

At my second interview they asked the question I have no answer for--what is your 5 year plan?  I likely blew the interview when I told them that I scrapped the plan and I no longer have a plan.  Frankly, I don't believe in plans.  Even later when pushed about a shorter plan--I have no plan.  I said something along the lines of "I want to do good work.  If you hire me I will dedicate myself heart and soul to ___ for the long haul but I don't have a plan."  It was the most honest thing I could say.  Perhaps honesty is part of the reason I'm still searching.

I also wonder if part of the reason I'm still searching is that I continue to sporadically write on the blog.  It's not anonymous.  I discovered that too often when you think you are anonymous you aren't so instead I'm transparent.

Transparent.  Crystal clear.  A girl that wears her heart on her sleeve.  A woman who doesn't believe in plans.  A woman who does and loves good work--work that makes a difference--work that matters.  That's not too much is it?  Is that my plan?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I have a caseworker.

I've been out of work since July.  When we ran out of savings we applied and received food stamps (which are no longer stamps at all).  Here in Colorado we have "workfare."

Workfare is a great thing--potentially.  Since Joel works full time he doesn't have to participate in the program.  I on the other hand...well, you know.  The first step of workfare is a job search class.  Although very poorly executed it had some good information and advice about job searching and interviewing.  Next we were assigned a caseworker.  To be honest, I was excited about meeting with a caseworker because I thought I'd be able to talk with her about the job search and get some ideas about what I could be doing better as well as have an additional resource for where to apply for work.  No such luck. 

"Joan" had at least 15 people assigned to her during that one class.  She reiterated that we were required to volunteer at one of the approved non-profit sites in proportion to the amount of food stamps we were receiving.  Hence, if we received $200 in food stamps, we would divide that by $8 and then be required to work/volunteer 25 hours a month.  Essentially we would be earning our benefits.  Not a bad thing.  Volunteering would help with the job search as it would give us an "employer," experience, connections, and help us to think about someone other than ourselves.  Joan then gave us approximately 6 more forms to fill out which gave us a copy as well.  Joan then scurried around the room signing our paperwork, sorting it into piles and sent us on our way with our next required "class."

The next class consisted of 15 of us gathered into a small room with Joan as we turned in our forms documenting our job search and volunteer hours and receiving new forms for the next class.  In addition to our group, Joan had another group of similar size in another room.  The class consisted of Joan signing forms and giving us new ones.  There was no time for one on one advice or anything else. 

Joan seems to be a wonderful woman, genuinely caring about helping us to move beyond our need for public assistance but she doesn't have time to actually assist or guide anyone.  Joan is not the only caseworker, after my first class there were 6 caseworkers taking new clients.  I think they have several introductory classes each week.  Their casework is far more paper pushing than assisting individuals.  Each time I've met with Joan (I'm required to go once a month) she appears stressed and exhausted.  It makes me sad.  Joan (and the other caseworkers) likely took this work in order to make a difference but between the inordinate caseloads and the flood of paperwork it is nearly impossible. 

Today I offer a prayer for all those who took jobs to make a difference, to help others move beyond a life of poverty, addiction, and pain but work in places that bureaucracy and paperwork make it nearly impossible to do so, that they may find a way to make a positive impact.  That they may be refreshed and renewed, finding relief from the stress and frustration of their work.  That they may indeed be blessed.  I pray too that we would find a way for the systems set up to help might be restructured and refined so that they could actually fulfill the intention of supporting and assisting people who need a hand up rather than keeping them dependent.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Work

I've been unemployed since July.  It began as a lovely vacation.  We knew it was coming so we did our best to prepare, saving a bit here and there.  We didn't have much but having some helped quite a bit.  I spent the summer filling out job applications and hiking with my youngest daughter.  It was actually quite nice.

School began, the girls returned to their classes and thankfully Joel had found work in a severe needs special education classroom.  Their work began and our money ran out.

A bit of panic set in.  I knew the economy was rough but I was shocked that nothing had happened...I hadn't even gotten an interivew.  I went to the local work force center for a resume building class.  I learned that I shouldn't talk about religion or mention that I have a Master's degree unless the job I'm applying for asks for one.  The religion thing cracked me up...the past 8 years I've been working as a pastor, how do I get around that? 

The third and best thing I learned was that I needed to be volunteering at least one day a week.  Volunteering would do several good things:  take my mind off myself and being unemployed, keep my job skills up, create networks for more job prospects, and make a name for myself in a new town.  The thing they alluded to but never mentioned outright is that it feels good to work, especially when you are doing good work.

The thing is, the work I am doing makes me hungry for more.  I absolutely love doing it.  It makes a difference.  It's not saving the world but every day I work I know without a doubt that I am making a difference.  That evil will not run amok freely because the others and myself that I work with are putting obstacles in its path.  It's hard work, sometimes it's overwhelming to confront the evils that we humans do to one another but I am glad to be there.  To be a face of hope, of comfort, of someone who cares.

This past week I've been especially blessed to preach as well as work at TESSA.  After preaching I cried when I got to the safety of our car.  It felt so good, it felt like what I'm supposed to be doing.  All the grief I carry from not preaching and being the pastor came flooding back.  They were good tears to shed.  As I left TESSA this week, I felt energized and renewed. 

This week I've done good work preaching and volunteering as a victim advocate.  I'm selfish, I want to do them both...and earn a paycheck.  I hope and pray that I will find good work with a paycheck in 2013.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cheers to a New Year!

Happy 2013!

I don't remember ever remember being so excited and grateful for a new year.  As our youngest went around the house asking what our resolutions for 2013 are I spouted out the usual:  eat healthier, exercise more, spend less, and write more.  But as I walked away random thoughts racing through my monkey mind the most important resolution I could make flitted into my head.  In the year of 2013 I am giving up FEAR.  It's also rather poetic to give up fear in the year of 13.  Throughout my life I have chosen to  embrace Friday the 13th as a lucky day rather than one to fear--why not do the same with the year of 2013?

This year has been difficult to say the least.  It has been fraught with fear and doubt.  It has also been filled with courage and strength overcoming the obstacles thrown before us.  I have discovered throughout this year that I am stronger than I know. 

My new resolution for 2013 is to disarm the fears that hold me back from living life to its fullest.  To shine with courage and strength no matter what comes my way. 

May God's blessings shower upon you this year and when hardships come your way (as they always do) may God's strength and comfort guide you through them.  Happy 2013!