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Cancer blues

Most days I feel really positive and good.  Today is not one of those days. Today is one of those days in which I've been thinking about having my lymph nodes removed and the risk of lymphodema in my legs. Dr. Gyn/Onc seemed more worried about this side effect than the actual cancer.  I don't want to go there but sometimes those images of log tree legs, remembering the pain from the swelling in my legs when I was pregnant, and imagining the drains being stuck in my body for a week or more, well it makes my skin crawl.

I know there will be good days and bad days. I try to keep the bad days from my family and friends. I know they are stressed too.

I feel like we are one of those families in which something is always going on and people start to pull away wondering WTF is wrong with them!

I'm used to being the care taker, not the one receiving care.

I have to find a new normal and that won't happen until after the surgery.  So I need an interim normal for the time being.

Cancer and unicorns

I wish I could remember where I found this prayer, it gives me strength and courage. 

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
but to be fearless in facing them.

Let me know beg for the stilling of my pain,
but for the heart to conquer it.

Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved,
but hope for the patience to win my freedom.

Grant me that I may not be a coward,
feeling your mercy in my success alone;
but let me find the grasp of your hand in my failure.

Written by Rabindranath Tagore

It turns out I have actual cancer.  In the tiniest of ways I am concerned but overall I am very positive about kicking some cancer ass. I think it has helped going through the precancerous stuff and emotions. I now know that I can get through the surgery. I know what I face and that I am surrounded by people who love and care for me and will help me through this.

A few months ago I had a "unicorn party" for my staff because things had been rough in the office and most folks had persona…

Processing Vulval Intraepithelial Neoplasia 3 (VIN 3)

Having a precancerous condition (VIN 3)on my vulva is a strange phenomena. It's a rare so most people aren't aware of it, I certainly wasn't. And let's face it, people rarely talk about women's anatomy such as clitoris, vulva, labia, etc. We focus on breasts and vaginas, usually with odd nicknames rather than actual labels. My personal preference for vagina is "hoo-hah." It's cute with a punch of power and why can't my vagina be cute and powerful? It may not be cute after surgery but I can still pretend.

A handful of family and friends, and YOU, know about my condition. I've been wondering, do I talk about it? Do I wait until I schedule my surgery (the scheduler wasn't in yesterday due to the blizzard on her side of town), after the surgery and my results are in? Or do I keep it to myself and those who already know?  At first I thought if this was breast cancer that would be an easy answer but I don't think that is true either. I imag…

Pre-C

It started with a sore, a lesion, in the most unpleasant of places. I finally called the ob/gyn for an appointment.

At the appointment, she told me it wasn't anything to worry about. She was sure it was a varicose vein. Gross!  Who knew you could get varicose veins in your vaginal area? Certainly not I!  All the same I was relieved. She took the biopsy just in case. I left my appointment gently chastising myself for being a hypochondriac and going to the worst case scenario of the big C.

About two weeks ago she called with my results. I had just gotten out of court and was checking messages. I got a little nervous when she wanted me to call her but then I realized that if it was major they'd have me come in. So I sat in my car and called.

"They found precancerous cells, we're going to refer you to Dr. X. He'll cut until there are clean margins. His office will call you in a few days."
"Oh, okay."
"Do you have any questions?"
"Not righ…

The strangest dream

"Last night I had the strangest dream..." is something my husband hears a lot. "Can I share it with  you?" is next. Depending on his mood and where he is in his stage of getting ready he may say yes or no.

Since I'd really prefer to process this strangest dream then the question is really for you. If your answer is yes then by all means keep reading! If no, then move along but I hope you will come back another day!


The dream was much like an alternate universe. In this dream my eldest daughter was 3 or 4. Her biological donor (sorry, father won't come out) came back into her life. (I was actually thrilled, him being healthy and actually being a father has been something I wanted for her for a very long time--she's now 21 and I don't see it happening. Alas, I digress.) She was spending the weekend with her Auntie (his sister) and I was having a strange church thing. We had discovered that Subway created a machine that would hold a person, magically a…

Hope, Beauty, and Kindness

This morning as I was scrolling through Facebook,  my friend Terri posted beautiful pictures of her with some folks from her congregation ceremoniously burning ashes for Lent. I asked her to share her liturgy and she did. As I read through the beautiful and poignant liturgy my heart swelled with excitement and joy. I realized that it is completely within the realm of possibility that next Lenten season I could be ceremoniously burning ashes with my congregation using her liturgy!

My first Lent as a full-time pastor in the UMC, I knew I wanted to burn my own ashes. I took the palms from the year before (thankfully the previous pastor had kept a stash), took them outside of the church with a bucket of water (safety first!) and big metal bowl to burn them in. I sat down crossed legged with the bowl in front of me, said a prayer, put the palms in the bowl and lit them on fire. They smoked....they smoked a lot. I started coughing and fanning the smoke away as I worked to stand up. Once I h…

My Third-trimester Abortion

It's something I don't talk about much.

In the past I referred to it as a stillbirth. It was a stillbirth. But it was also an induced labor in my third trimester, hence making it a third-trimester abortion.

When I discovered I was pregnant I was only 16 years old. I'm pretty sure Christopher was conceived on the night my mom walked in on my boyfriend and I having sex on the couch. I thought she was going to be at work but she came home early. He ran out the door and I cried while my mother yelled profanities at me. It was a horrible night for all of us.

I wasn't smart enough to consider pretending I was on my period. After a few months my mom asked me if I was pregnant. She was right but I denied it just the same. Tim and I had talked about giving the baby up for adoption but we were scared out of our minds and decided I'd get an abortion. Another month or so passed, I hadn't gotten an abortion and I couldn't deny my pregnancy to my mom anymore. I told her …

Good-bye Grandpa Bud

This is my Grandpa Bud, he also goes by Popo but that's what my nieces and nephews call him. To me, he's Grandpa Bud. He became my grandpa when I was about 5. I thought he was one  of the most handsome men I'd ever met. He looked like a movie star to me, I thought he was the spitting image of Clark Gable (I'm not sure how or why I knew who Clark Gable was but I did). He was also one of the kindest men I had ever met. I loved him immediately and took great pride when he named me Pistol.

I loved going out to the farm and spending the night because it meant that if I woke up early enough, it would be just me and Grandpa Bud sitting at the table together while he drank his coffee. I don't remember what we talked about but I do remember the ways his eyes sparkled and that I felt completely safe in his presence.

Grandpa Bud introduced me to the simple pleasures of buttered crackers dipped in milk, bread dipped in milk, and my favorite as a child, sugar sandwiches--bread…

Falling in love

I've fallen head over heels for the United Church of Christ.


Throughout seminary my friend Rick and I joked about carpooling from Kansas City, MO to St. Louis so we could attend Eden Seminary in St. Louis, MO. We knew the UCC had/has an intense commitment to social justice that surpassed that of the United Methodist Church.  Yet we stayed put in Kansas City and graduated from Saint Paul School of Theology. I loved my time at SPST. I made life long friendships with both students and professors. I learned a lot there. At SPST I fell in love with Feminist, Womanist, Mujerista, and Process theologies. My mind and heart expanded in love and yearning to co-create a better world.

In my pursuit of ordination in the United Methodist Church it was suggested that I hide my love for these theologies. I refused. I fought against the male conservative system in the Missouri Conference.

When we moved back to Colorado and attended my husband's family church, Community Congregational Church of …

Triggered

I've been a hot mess all weekend.

Realistically, I've been a hot mess since Drumpf won the Republican nomination. I've had highs and lows. This past week has been terrible though. I feel like I'm cycling between depression, anger, anxiety, and fear with a little bit of hope and activism thrown in for good measure.

As I was trying to calm down this morning and prepare for my day I realized that I am triggered. I feel out of control because my PTSD has been triggered and has likely been triggered for months now but has hit a very high level.

In therapy I've learned to look for common threads in my trauma (for me they are like Lays chips--can't have just one). Most of my trauma is related to different but similar white men. White men who have power over me; they are men who believe they are always right and have the power to do or take whatever they want no matter what. Sound familiar? They are white men who claim the title of Christian but act in ways counter to …
As I was driving home from preaching last Sunday, I was greeted by these adorable alpacas. I had seen then on my drive to the church but they were far off in the distance and looked like specs in the photo.  I was thrilled when driving home, there they were up close. Of course I pulled over to snap some pictures. I didn't get out since I don't know much about alpacas and their demeanor, plus I didn't have permission to pet them from their owners. I just sat in my car and spoke to them at the fence. Their adorable fuzzy faces have brought me joy throughout the week. I'd like to link some deep theology to this post but I'm not going to, it's just a happy post. May these adorable alpacas make you smile like they did me.

Beloved

Matthew 3.13-17 13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
Today we find ourselves with John who is just a wee bit strange, prophets in the bible nearly always are. Between John’s hair shirt, diet of bugs, and rudely calling people names, I find it amazing that there were folks waiting to be baptized by him, lots of them.
John stormed against the hypocrisy and injustices of his world and called from the wilderness for people to come and repent, to turn away fr…
I'm excited to preach on Sunday, the Baptism of Jesus. My mentor told me not to get overly creative since her church wouldn't expect something too crazy. So I won't be throwing water on them or anything overly fun or strange.

Yet, as I was playing in the shower water this morning I was thinking about creation and how after each piece of creation was added: the light and the dark, land, creatures of the air and of the land, and even people after each creation God said "And it was good." It was good. I believe in Original Goodness. We were made for goodness and love, I believe this with my whole heart and spirit. Yet, instead of a doctrine of Original Goodness, humans created a doctrine of Original Sin.

Isn't it strange? Most folks will say that God is good. God is love. God created out of love. And yet, our focus is on sin and failing and missing the mark. I live a life of grand mistakes and bold sins and embarrassing sins as well. I know that all of us do. Bu…