Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two Words

Rummage. Sale. $1425.77 for Family and Youth Ministry. Thanks be to God the Sale is over for another year.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Not (Entirely) My Fault

Last night I tried to log on to write a quick blog post, but Blogger was down. I'd like to say that my failure to get a post up yesterday wasn't my fault, but the fact that I didn't sit down to try until 11pm is no one's fault but my own (despite the fact it was 10pm before we got home from our church council meeting).
For the last 24 hours my thoughts have been circling around the pluses and minuses of sharing a call with my husband. When it is good, it is very very good, but when it is bad... horrid about sums it up.
By far, more days are very very good - I love that we are investing in the same congregation. I love that the Munchkin is cared for by one of us every day and that we don't have to drop her off at daycare. I love that we get to spend Christmas and Easter together. I love that we can try to work from our gifts and strengths, which are quite different. I love that the people I minister to and with also know my husband.
On the horrid side - sometimes we live in each others' pockets just a tad too much for comfort; sometimes the hard stuff from work comes home, and the hard stuff at home goes to work; sometimes it'd be nice to have a safe harbor at home to talk about difficulties with my colleague.
I think a lot about integration, and having a life that is all of a piece, but sometimes I wish I could draw tidy little compartmentalizing boundaries around parts of my world, and just be the wife and mom.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Contemplating getting back in the saddle

Every once in a while I wonder what might my life would be like had I ended up working in the field of one of my undergraduate degrees (in my over-achieving youth I got a BS in Atmospheric Science and a BA in Scandinavian Area Studies from an excellent state university). The science has always seemed like the more "valuable" - or marketable, anyway - of the degrees. Right after graduation I thought about staying in school, but needed a break, and neither Kansas nor Northern Alaska, where Weather Service openings were at the time, felt like the right move.
It's been a long time since I've been able to "do the math" the way I used to, but I think it will be good for me to start plugging back in to the science. (At our pastors' conference at Chico Hot Springs after Easter, one of our speakers talked some about the intersection of faith and science - particularly in terms of stewardship of the earth, which piqued my interest). So, before I get all gung-ho and start looking seriously at DMin programs - more school so often seems like a good idea - I think it would be a good idea to catch up a little. After all, a lot has changed since I graduated in 1995.

I think I may have found a helpful blog for this purpose: - and they've got a great place to start if you want to learn more about climate change and the science behind current models and theories. That's where I'll be spending some screen time in the next few days and weeks.
The site is another place I'll be hanging out. And, what do you know, there's even a site called Lutherans Restoring Creation which is brand-spanking-new to me. Huh. Guess I've got my work cut out for me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Yesterday evening a couple of family friends from what seems like a lifetime ago stopped by. They are a bit younger than my folks, and I think were the first couple my sister and I called "Auntie" and "Uncle" who were not actually aunts or uncles.
After moving so many times in the last 15 years, I must say it's fun to talk with folks who remember when I was in elementary school - and what I was like back in those days. I'm not sure if it's a pro or a con, moving away from the people who know you and your history the best - a little of both, I suppose.
One of the most fun parts of the evening (besides the dinner they took us out to enjoy) was introducing them to the Munchkin, and then watching the Munchkin enjoy their dog, Mandy, who is a Dachshund mix of some kind. The Munchkin is completely in love with dogs, and the conversation she had with Mandy was pretty dang hilarious.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Where does the time go?

A couple of weeks ago, I kept running into the same saying, in all kinds of places: "The days are long, but the years are short."
I think I would agree, usually.
Except sometimes, the days are short, too.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Momma's Day

To all the mothering types of the world: Happy Mother's Day. As I discovered many of my colleagues do, I struggle with the inclusion of Mother's Day on Sunday morning. For some it's a great day of joy and happiness, but for so many others, it's just NOT. For women who long to give birth but can't, for women whose children - of any age - have preceded them in death, for men and women who have difficult relationships with their moms... so many reasons that it can be a harder than average day.
There was much discussion on the RevGalBlogPals blog about Mother's Day and how to include it, or not, in worship. One of the most helpful pieces was posted at a pearl down under. I included this litany in the prayers of intercession this morning. I think it's pretty great.

Of course, this is my first momma's day as a momma, and apart from the sleep deprivation, I have to say it's been a good day. I got to talk to my Mom and my Mom-in-law. G gave me a great card and a gift certificate to the spa at the hospital (where I had an absolutely GLORIOUS pre-natal massage about a month before baby arrived). And I got to spend the day snuggling with one of the cutest kids ever. Here's a photo (taken 13 days ago) of the Munchkin whose Momma I am blessed to be:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's still Saturday somewhere...

Well, so much for writing every day in May - technically speaking, I didn't even make it through the first week. But, I'm still up, despite the fact that I'm now into early Sunday morning. My sermon is kicking my butt.
In reading the gospel text for tomorrow, Luke 24:13-35 over and over, I realized that I could likely do an introduction (for some, hopefully, a re-introduction) of Vibrant Faith Ministries (formerly the Youth & Family Institute) four keys to nurturing faith in the home and congregation:
1. caring conversations
2. devotions
3. service
4. rituals and traditions

It's still not quite done, though I'm getting tired enough to head to bed and try to get up early to put the finishing touches on it.
Good thing tomorrow's Mother's Day - I am definitely going to need a nap!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The List

I am a To Do List junkie. At our rehearsal dinner, G's brothers and friends sang his praises and generally impressed everyone with what a fabulous and caring guy he is. My friends and family went for the "roast the bride" angle on rehearsal dinner toasts and speeches, and they made sure G was well aware of some of my chief foibles before he said "I do" the next day. Near the top of the list: my lists. Yes, plural. I think they gave G some post it notes, and I don't remember if a white board was involved or not...
 I don't actually have a list of lists, but I don't think it would surprise anyone who knows me well if I did.
I come by my need for lists honestly. I am a recovering over-achiever, and even back in my high school days I had enough irons in the fire to necessitate an "external brain" - a piece of college-ruled notebook paper with two columns to a side full of homework, projects, papers and other things I needed not to forget.
During my college years, recognizing that I needed to begin each day with a sense of accomplishment, thinks like "eat breakfast" and "shower" were at the top of each day's list. And most days, they got crossed off. I discovered I am not above adding something to the list after it's been finished, just to have the joy of crossing something off.
These days, there's usually a list for the week, from Tuesday - Monday, since we take Mondays off at our house. It's not on notebook paper anymore, it's a typed list. And it's color coded, in four sections. The first is stuff to do at work. The second is stuff to do at work that I know there's no way I'll get to THIS week, but which ought not be forgotten. The third section is full of tasks to do at home. And the fourth is like the second - things that I know I won't get around to any time soon, but that I need to keep on my radar.
There are many tasks that are on the list every week (like update the congregation's website, prepare for teaching Confirmation, etc.). And some that only appear a couple times a year (send mother's day cards, pick up steer manure to mix into raised bed, mix in steer manure, etc.).
The bummer is, this week I never managed to actually modify and print the list. I have that sinking feeling I'm forgetting a few things...
I'm enjoying poking around in this post about to-do lists over at Unclutterer. Perhaps it's time for an overhaul. And maybe I'll feel better with shorter lists.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Loving the Library

The Munchkin and I hit the Bozeman Public Library today. I love the library. M's not sure what to think, I think, as she slept through most of our visit (perfect!). I had quite a take, after roaming the stacks for a few minutes. I love seeing what one search leads to, and could easily spend hours pulling books off the shelves. Here's the haul. We'll see how many I can get through before they're due on June 2nd!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

(Maybe) Read. (Probably Not) Reply.

A member of my congregation likes to forward me lots of stuff. Lots.of.stuff. Seriously. For awhile I felt compelled to open it all and then try to read it all, and then think of some decent response to email back to him. I couldn't keep up. Finally, I told him I'd subscribed myself to the Henri Nouwen Society's daily email, and also let him know that I wouldn't always be able to reply to all of the First Things articles, youtube videos and assorted other things he sends. He seemed surprised that I'd thought he expected me to in the first place. Let me tell you - after the fall out we took at our house for taking some parental leave, G and I were starting to feel a little paranoid. Unnamed, unspoken expectations can be dangerous things. Especially if you're the one of whom a couple hundred people have unspoken expectations.
Fortunately, after some hard work, lots of listening, and near-constant reminders not to get defensive, things are getting better. At some point I'll be able to write a half-way intelligible and thoughtful paragraph about how the whole thing went down.

In the meantime, you might also enjoy the meditation the Henri Nouwen Society sent on Easter. It must have made an impact on me. I remembered the "maybe" - perfect for this month's nablopomo - and perhaps a fitting description of the growing edge of my life, too.

Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. We joyfully announce it. [And yet] I realize that my faith and unbelief are never far from each other. Maybe it is exactly at the place where they touch each other that the growing edge of my life is.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Please Pass the Paper

I love it when little ideas come to fruition, without me pushing to make them happen.
After our synod pastors' conference at Chico Hot Springs last week (more about that later), I've been trying to think of simple things our household could do to continue simplifying, build community, and live a little lighter on the earth.
When I finally rolled into the office late this afternoon (Grant had a continuing ed. gig til mid-afternoon), I ended up having a good conversation with our office manager. We covered a wide range of topics, including stewardship, giving, making sacrifices, American lifestyles of consumption, etc.... I mentioned how we'd given up our satellite TV, she mentioned they've given up their daily newspaper.
And a light bulb appeared over my head. We still get the daily paper - why don't we share?
So, starting tomorrow, I'll take the paper with me to work and hand it over. I said I couldn't make any guarantees about getting today's paper today - chances are good it'll be a day later - but she didn't mind (the crossword will keep). The only promise I extracted was that the paper will be recycled when her household is finished with it - otherwise she has to bring it back and give it back to me so I can recycle it. She laughed. No problem.
How fantastic!!
This feels especially good, since over the weekend I also remembered to ask another family at church if they have a broadcast spreader for things like grass seed and fertilizer that we could borrow. I figure if we only use it once or twice a year, there's no reason we need to own one!
The spreader arrived by the office door Sunday night. Perfect!
It feels good NOT to buy things, and even better to share the things we already have.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A death in the human family

Just before I turned off the computer last night and finally headed to bed, I saw the headlines that Osama bin Laden had been killed, and listened to the President's speech about it.
It's been hard to avoid coverage about it - front page of the paper, all over the news, and even all over facebook. I am thankful that so many of my friends who "demand a deeper ethic for the world," as one new facebook pal put it.
Check out tensegrities, and the links offered there.
Maybe... someday we will actually remember to pray for our enemies, and to love them, until the only enemy left is death itself.

What follows is the letter to all the members of my denomination, the ELCA, from our Presiding Bishop. Not bad.

Sisters and brothers in Christ,

 The death of Osama bin Laden is an occasion for solemn remembrance. We remember the lives of all whose deaths resulted from his choosing hatred and violence. We stand with those who continue to mourn the death of loved ones while giving thanks for their lives, their love and their faith. We also continue to hold in prayer all whose service in the military, in government and in humanitarian and peacemaking activities contribute to a safer and more prosperous world.

At the same time we also recall who we are: people baptized into Christ, freed to serve our neighbors. We are people called as Christ’s ambassadors of reconciliation with our neighbors, serving God’s work of restoring community. We engage our neighbors of other faiths, including our Muslim neighbors near and far, in respectful, searching dialogue and shared commitment to build a world that reflects God’s will for peace with justice. We pray for our neighbors, even those who are our enemies.
Most of all, in these 50 days of celebrating Christ’s resurrection, joy finds its fullest and deepest expression not over a human death but in God’s promise to unite all things in heaven and on earth, to reconcile the human family and to bring God’s reign of peace. Confident in what God has promised, we witness our resolve against any act of violence in the name of religion and our renewed commitment of service to the neighbors and world God so deeply loves.

In God’s grace,

Mark S. Hanson

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I signed up for Nablopomo, or "National Blog Posting Month" for the month of May. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now that it's pushing 11pm on a Sunday night and I am for the first time sitting down at the computer, I think perhaps I was wrong...
Nablopomo was initially developed to go along with nanowrimo (national novel writing month, when crazy people sign up to churn out a novel in the month of November. I did it back in 2009, and of course have not returned to that manuscript even once. Someday, perhaps...). Now, nablopomo is EVERY month, and every month the minds behind the frenzy offer a theme. This month it's "maybe." Following the theme is optional, and most months I have fleeting thoughts about engaging it and committing to writing more in terms of quantity, if not at all "more" in terms of quality.
Last week, in my post-Easter exhaustion and hopefulness, I entertained all kinds of crazy notions about making more time to write (and read, clean, exercise, cook, etc.). We'll see how that turns out.
I'm learning that in some ways, maybe in some of the least helpful ways, Easter works like New Year's Day in my life - there is before, and after, when of course I'll get everything organized and straightened up and put back on track. Somehow I don't think a massive self-improvement project is what the liturgy has in mind when we are reminded of the newness of life we have in our risen Lord.
Maybe I should just cut myself some slack.