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Sermon on Luke 24: 44-56

This morning I have the honor of preaching at my Mentor's church while she take a well earned break.  I'd be lying if I wasn't nervous. Thankfully, I live with an amazing editor so that helps.

I'm using the first story from Peter Rollin's The Ortodox Heretic and Other Impossible Tales as an illustration. It didn't seem right to type it into my sermon. The stripped down version is that a man is put on trial for being a Christian. He has all the Christian trappings: regularly attends church, prays, reads scriptures and inspirational devotions, he even writes his own! Yet, he is free to go because there is no evidence that he is living as Christ and the Disciples did, he poses no threat to the status quo. I highly recommend the book. It's filled with wonderful and challenging tales, Rollins' uses the book to state that the scriptures and all our religiosity have no meaning unless we put those words and beliefs into action.

Update:  I left the book at home!!…
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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…