Thursday, March 21, 2013

Still here...

Would you believe that "Write a Blog Post" has been on my to-do list for the last 10 months? Most of the non-urgent things on my list just don't get done around here - or at least not by me. Perhaps it's a good thing that the state of the bathroom does eventually reach urgent. Ha.

Here's some of the chaos in my head:

It's been an eventful ten months. Daughter #2 was born two months ago - I'm thinking any mental creativity I used to have to think about writing got transferred to literal physical creativity as I incubated a baby. And Daughter #1 is now a quite precocious nearly-two-and-a-half-year-old who goes goes goes. So much for sleeping when the baby sleeps!

I was very fortunate to receieve 6 weeks of parental leave, but a 10 day visit from my dear mother-in-law, colds that wouldn't quit, followed by a 3 night hospitalization for the newborn, meant that my time off went by way too quickly for me. I'd had a few small goals for my leave - things like getting all the maternity clothes out of the closet, washed and boxed up or given back to the lender. That task didn't seem overly ambitious, though it still hasn't happened.

Coming back to congregational life in the middle of Lent has been plenty challenging, too, though this Lent has been the least "Lenty" of any Lent I can remember. I'm sure I'll have more coherent things to say about that later. Right now I'm trying to get into the swing of things enough to finish planning worship and writing sermons for Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. Urgent, at least, so they will get done.

The list of blogs I read on a semi-regular basis has shifted some: more parenting, more house-keeping, more theolgoy and church life. And a couple of colleague-friends who used to write frequent and fabulous blog posts haven't posted in a year or more. I get that. And I really don't want the "one year since I posted anything" mark to come and go. So here it is. In all it's random, badly written glory: a first post in an extremely long time. We'll see if I can get back in the groove and keep writing.

I don't always feel like myself, but I am still here...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Small Happinesses

One of the ways that I have been getting rid of (sharing/passing on/letting go of) some of the stuff in my life is through Bookcrossing. I first read about Bookcrossing in a magazine about (what else?) books. I joined several years ago and am "indigo136." Since we're making an effort to take evening walks in the 100 Acre Park a couple blocks north of our house, where the dog can run around off-leash, I've been trying to remember to take a book or two with me every evening to leave for someone to find.
I like the idea of turning the world into a free library of sorts. Only a small percentage of the books I've given away this way, through a "Wild Release," have been "caught." I don't know what's happened to the rest of them - maybe someone found each one and just didn't bother to go online and say so. Maybe coffee shop employees found them and trashed them. It's a mystery, for the most part.
No mystery this past weekend, though. Two of the three books I released were "caught" - and one of the catchers wrote a longer-than-average paragraph about her experience. And then joined Bookcrossing. And donated cash (that's how come "bison76" has those little angel wings").
Love it!

Here's the "journal" for my former copy of Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith.

2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by indigo136 from Bozeman, Montana USA on Tuesday, September 20, 2011
7 out of 10
I read most of this series several years ago, but forgot I owned them. Figured I should share.

Journal Entry 2 by indigo136 at 100 Acre Park in Bozeman, Montana USA on Sunday, May 13, 2012
This book has not been rated.
Released 2 days ago (5/13/2012 1:00 AM UTC) at 100 Acre Park in Bozeman, Montana USA
On a bench.

Journal Entry 3 by wingbison76wing at Bozeman, Montana USA on Monday, May 14, 2012
6 out of 10
We were Bozeman visiting our son and taking an after dinner walk. I am an avid reader and usually read books on the Nook or iPad. I was thinking that my iPad had little charge left and since I forgot the charger I was going to have to go get another charger so I could read in the motel or buy a book. Surprise! There was a book on the bench in the park and it was one I hadn't read, although I have read my in the series.

I love this idea of leaving books and when I finish this one tonight I will be leaving it on a bench that was placed in Missoula in honor of a beloved member of my book group who passed on...... Thank you!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spring Cleaning: better late than never, and maybe not even late

Spring in Montana, taken Thursdsay morning from the front porch. While still in my jammies.

I'm finally catching the spring-cleaning bug. Some years I remain immune, but this year, not so much. I thought perhaps I had escaped, since spring was finally in the air, but then it snowed several inches this week, so it feels like I'm getting a do-over for the beginning of the season.
 So far I have managed to clean out exactly one (of two) junk drawers in the kitchen, and I spent about ninety minutes organizing in my office at church. I do, however, have designs on considerably larger undertakings: the entire master bedroom, the garage, the front-room closet which is full-to-bursting with all kinds of amazing things.
The church rummage sale was a couple of weeks ago, and I'd managed to keep my new year's goal and put a thing a day in the rummage sale box. That helped, but there's still plenty to do. And plenty to pass on to someone who could use it more than we do. There is a new "giveaway" box in the bedroom. So far the hubs has made the only contributions.
Part of my hope for spring cleaning isn't just physical, but mental, too. I'm feeling a need for some new patterns of thought and organizing time. Not necessarily that much more structure, but new. And I'm hoping to get on top of some digital clutter, too. As I write this, my personal email account has 2,676 new emails in it, not counting the 23 which hotmail has identified as junk. The total number of emails in my inbox, which either have not been read or not been put in a folder, is 5,085 messages. Surely that's one or two emails more than I need.

Mother Nature's mixed-messages

Saturday, April 28, 2012


This piece landed in my inbox today. I subsribe to a daily meditation from the Henri Nouwen Society. There are a couple of week's worth still waiting to be read. But in the midst of sermon-writing-procrastination, I read today's.

Writing to Save the Day
Writing can be a true spiritual discipline. Writing can help us to concentrate, to get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts, to clarify our minds, to process confusing emotions, to reflect on our experiences, to give artistic expression to what we are living, and to store significant events in our memories. Writing can also be good for others who might read what we write.

Quite often a difficult, painful, or frustrating day can be "redeemed" by writing about it. By writing we can claim what we have lived and thus integrate it more fully into our journeys. Then writing can become lifesaving for us and sometimes for others too.

In the past three months, there have been more days than I'd like to admit that needed "redeeming" through writing. I couldn't bring myself to sit down at the keyboard and type, or open my journal and put pen to paper. I have lists of blog-post titles and themes written on various to-do lists, in my planner, in random notebooks. I am hopeful I'll get to them.

For now, it's time to return to some preaching preparation. It's the Fourth Sunday of Easter tomorrow, which means Good Shepherd Sunday. It's also Malaria Sunday (World Malaria Day was last Wednesday) and the ELCA has stated a goal of raising $200,000 to begin the campaign's work in Liberia. At least the check's written, even the sermon isn't.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A month in...

We're a month into 2012, and frankly it doesn't really feel like it to me. I think part of that feeling is due to the weather here - we've pretty muched missed winter so far, with above average temperatures and below average snow fall. I have grown unaccustomed to seeing brown lawn for most of January, and it's starting to be a little disconcerting. Snow is predicted for Thursday, but the weekend is supposed to be on the warm-ish side, so even if we do get a good few inches of snow, there's no guarantee it'll stick around for long.

I never did get around to posting my goals for 2012. Here they are:
1. Read at least 12 novels (one a month is the goal, but some months aren't as fiction-friendly as others. I had so much fun with this last year that it just might be a goal for life).
2. Read at least 12 non-fiction books (got to keep things balanced. And setting a goal makes it more likely to happen, I think).
3. Give away 366 things, one per day - remember, this is a leap year! I've got a big rubber maid bin as my current collection site, saving things for our annual church rummage sale. After that it'll be off to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. I'm keeping track of the items on a list on the box lid. I'm only 3 shy for January. Gotta get busy.
4. Write a handwritten letter, card or postcard for every day the USPS delivers mail, which was 24 days this month. I've still got 2 to write tonight, but there's hope... If you start getting prodigious quantities of mail from me, now you'll know why. If you'd like to get some mail from me, let me know in the comments... (This goal is a spin-off of the 52 weeks 52 letters challenge (which always seemed a bit of a weenie challenge to me) and is a result of the success I had sending a postcard every day for a month last fall).
5. Find a place for everything in our house. And then put everything in said place. This is related to goal #3. We've still got too much junk in our house. I still have too much junk in our house. And the Munchkin's growing stash doesn't make things any easier. If any of this year's goals prove bigger than my determination, it will be this one.
6. Get back in slightly better shape. I know, aim high, right? If I could lose 100 pounds between now New Year's Eve that'd be great. But that might be biting off more than I'd actually get around to chewing. So I'm going for 20 pounds or so, and some increased cardio endurance. My gym membership got re-upped this week, after a nearly year-long hiatus, which followed a 10-month-pregnancy-and-post-partum hiatus. It's time.
7. Knit something real. And I'm already on this one - I signed up for a "First Sweater" knitting class at a local yarn shop. At first I thought I'd tackle a husband-sized sweater, but then I found some great orange-purple-pink yard and decided to go with something for the Munchkin instead. I'd hoped to find a new friend or two among my fellow students, but I'm a good 10-15 years older than all four of them. If I'd been looking for Saturday night drinking (and knitting) buddies, I'd have been set.
8. More date nights. We're working on it.
9. Write something every day - if not a card, a blog post here or on the church blog, in my journal, something.

Now that I'm all the way to number nine, I'm feeling like I should come up with three more to get all the way to number 12 for 2012. But I won't.
There is, however, one more thing we're really hoping for - a second child. I miscarried again at Thanksgiving. It wasn't nearly as traumatic as the first time, but dashed hopes and dreams are never fun. There's more to say about that, but I'll save it for another day.

For now, I've got to go write a couple of postcards!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

On the twelfth day of Christmas...

I posted this on the congregation's blog a week ago, since I love Miss Piggy's "pa dum dum dum" after the fifth day of Christmas. And I couldn't let all twelve days go by without posting it here, too.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

On the 10th Day of Christmas...

Christmas is almost over... We are almost done sending Christmas cards from our house, though I have a feeling it may be a couple weeks after Epiphany before the last of them hits the mailbox.

I found this great site all about rituals for the 12 days of Christmas yesterday, since I'm subscribed to the author's email list. It's a bit late, I know, but I'm hoping I'll remember it's here next year.

I'm busy getting ready to lead a women's retreat this weekend - and so all things retreat-y are getting my attention. This isn't exactly helpful at this point in the preparation. At some point I need to just sit down and pound out a plan for the four one-hour "sessions" on the schedule. And prepare evening prayer, and morning prayer, and worship for Sunday. Hmmm... maybe scheduling this retreat for the first full weekend of the year wasn't such a brilliant idea after all.