Monday, December 8, 2008


We are proud renters. At least for now. As of last Thursday we are no longer home-owners, which is a good thing, since there are several states between where we live and the location of our former dwelling. It's been tough, paying rent in Montana and paying a mortgage in Arizona, plus keeping up on all the bills that go with maintaining a house in sellable condition: electricity, water, pool maintenance (remember, this is Phoenix we're talking about). In order to make the ends a little closer to meeting, the two of us have been working away at part-time jobs (he got a seasonable job as an early morning stocker at Cost Plus World Market). I can hardly wait to quit. It's not that I don't find my co-workers interesting (and often fairly amusing), and it's definitely not that I don't like shoes (you'd thinking working in a shoe store would be close to heaven...), but there's something about the time, the necessary schedule, that has made these first few months in MT hard for me. Especially in Advent, I am feeling the need for space, and not just space in 3 dimensions, but space in the 4th dimension, too. I crave the time carved out just for prayer, for reading, for connecting with friends. Two weeks from Wednesday Advent will be over, but after a little notice-giving (two weeks is just about right), one of my greatest Christmas gifts this year will be time.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election + 2 Days

I'm not sure why I haven't gathered my thoughts enough to write something profound and full of hope following the election on Tuesday. But I haven't. A couple of my friends, however, have. I encourage you to read what Heather and Jennie had to say, after all, they were THERE. And check back, I'm working on it...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Birth in the middle of things

I received a much-anticipated email this morning. My "longest friend" (sounds better to me than "oldest friend") had a baby girl yesterday morning, just before 5am. After two days of contractions she finally had a c-section. Lord have mercy. But momma and baby are healthy, and I am thrilled. I've known Jeannette my entire life. She is 25 whole days older than I am, and our families were next-door neighbors until we were about 4 years old. She truly is a lifetime friend and one of the people I treasure. I remember when I was about 9 or 10 years old my Grandma mentioned that she and her best friend had been friends for 55-odd years, or something like that. I couldn't even begin to imagine what it would be like to be friends with someone for so long. Yet here we are, 35 years and counting. Even though it's been ages since we lived in the same state, or time zone, Jeannette is one of those amazing friends I can pick up with like no time has passed at all. We have a friendship that somehow rests on a grace bigger than either of us, keeping us connected even when keeping in touch proves illusive. Today I rejoice with my friend, and give thanks to God for the birth of Kainoa Isabelle.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday night as Sabbath eve

It's Thursday. Evening. Thank God. My husband/co-pastor and I take Fridays off and honor the day as our weekly sabbath, or stopping - at least we try to. It's not always easy, and even though we have a commitment not to do any "have to's" on our days off, they have a sinister way of creeping onto the day's agenda. I have one tomorrow: I must take our Honda Civic into the dealership to acquire the necessary bracket to attach a license plate to the front of the car. Arizona only has rear license plates, but Montana has two - front and back. The things you don't think about when buying a new car! But apart from that (and perhaps a load of laundry or two) there's not much in the way of to-do-lists for tomorrow, and I for one am especially glad. This has been a hard week for me. The play-by-play: Last Friday we got word of an offer on our house in Phoenix (the one it costs us a boatload to maintain with mortgage etc.). It was LOW, but we planned a counteroffer. Then we learned Saturday of a second offer, of a respectable amount. We decided instantly that we would accept it. Sunday we got as much of the paperwork done as necessary. By Monday lunch the buyers had a change of heart. I was willing to go back to the first buyer with our counter offer, husband: not so much. Knowing we could get more he wasn't willing to deal with the initial low offer. By Monday evening I'd fumed enough to let him have it: I'm working 22 hours a week or so at a groovy shoe store in the mall in Bozeman, and probably full-time as pastor of CtK (I don't keep track of hours because weeping comes pretty easy for me these days, and I'd rather not know). I've got more irons in the fire, ministry-wise, than he has, and he's still applying for part-time jobs. His getting-hired-difficulty seems to be "availability." I'm trying really hard not to resent how hard I'm working (and how hard he apparently is NOT working, at least according to me) but largely to no avail. I guess I was expecting this whole adventure to feel more like a team effort. Pray for me. And in my honor, please take a REAL day off this week. It might help you keep your sanity. I know it helps with mine. PS - I took a few minutes this evening to barely catch up with a couple of my favorite blogs. And found this great link for a post on Inexpensive Adventures. Right up my alley. PPS - Our congregation's new website, is live. There are still kinks and blank spaces, but I'm feeling good about the progress we're making. Feedback, please.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

On the eve of 35

Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown tomorrow night. And in the Jewish manner of keeping time (and there was EVENING and there was morning, the first day) with the new day starting at sunset, I am accutely aware of my birthday tomorrow - my own personal new year. I am also accutely aware that there will be precious little time for reflection during the 24 hours of the anniversary of my birth, and so have been trying to find time to think, at least a little, about the bigger picture of my life. I haven't gotten very far. That said, I have been thinking about how many opportunities there are to have new beginnings. Birthdays. Rosh Hashanah. The beginning of Advent. New Year's Eve and Day. Chinese New Year. Mondays, every one of them. Tomorrows, every one of those, too. I am grateful for these, because I have a feeling tomorrow may be fairly anti-climactic. Perhaps that's just as well. Thirty-five is a middle sort of birthday, nothing flashy. And I am far too practical - with the birthday cash my parents sent I bought a new bike helmet, since the snappy-buckle-thingy on my old one broke or fell off in our move. (To think I work in a shoe store and I bought a bike helmet with my birthday money!!) Sitting on the eve of 35, I am thankful. And tired. And hopeful. Who knows what the next year will bring...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Preach it, my Irish brother!

It's extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can't find $25 billion dollars to save 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases.
- Bono, rock star and anti-poverty activist. (Source: The American Prospect blog, though I got this quote via email from Sojourners.) As a facebook friend of mine in Phoenix put it - it's amazing that socialism is somehow okay in America when it means taking care of wealthy businessmen and their businesses, but it's not okay when it means taking care of the sick and poor. And to think - where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Beginning in the middle

Welcome to what will likely be "random thoughts along one servant's path." We'll see... I set this blog up a month and a half ago, fully planning to get into a writing pattern before Grant (my husband) and I began our new call as co-pastors of Christ the King Lutheran Church. So much for a good idea. We did manage to get a congregational blog up and running while we work on getting the church's website completely overhauled. You can find that blog at Rooted. We're using it to post events and reminders as well as some thoughts from the pastors' seats. In the middle of this crazy economy, we are feeling the pinch. Having left two full-time calls in Phoenix (and hence 2 full-time Phoenix incomes) to take a shared call in Montana, we have cut our income by more than half. It would be an adventure in simple (okay, frugal) living if we'd sold our house in Phoenix before we left. But we didn't. So now we have college-town sized rent plus a mortgage. We are "working members" at the very groovy Bozeman Community Food Co-Op. And I am selling shoes at the mall. It is an interesting thing to be back in the world of retail. I covered part of a shift this morning because someone called in sick, and the mall is S..L..O..W... Granted, it's a weekday, but still. And most of the employees are college students. It feels strange to be low person on the totem pole. I am accustomed to knowing what's going on and how things should happen. I am used to having questions asked of me and having most of the answers. Now I am learning, again, (still?) to ask a lot of questions. I also have renewed appreciation for all the folks for whom hourly wages are the only wages, and who work much harder than I do. This blog is beginning in the middle of what has already become a very busy pattern of life. I pray for the wisdom and gumption to give it the structure I thrive on and the rest I need.