Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Simple Steps

Sometimes simple steps aren't so simple. Or, perhaps more accurately, simple steps aren't always that easy. At least not in our house. Here's what caught my eye today, every single time I came in the front door or had to go upstairs.

Naked stairs!
They are the stairs in our house, and what's different about them is this: there's nothing else there. For pushing 30 hours now, the stairs have been completely clear of anything needing to go upstairs, go out into the garage, get recycled, or generally find some sort of more permanent home. I'd say it's been close to 6 months since this has been the reality in our house. I just got used to walking past all the piles. I got used to putting things down and picking them up again, at whatever stair-height seemed convenient. I nearly broke an ankle and dropped the baby on more than one occasion. And now I can't stop looking at all that naked carpet.
I wonder how long this will last?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Year(s) in Review

I had my first-ever "ministry review" tonight. I was in my first call for almost 4 years, second call for 2, and we arrived here almost 3 years ago - and this is the first time I've had a formal review in all those years! The church council president and another council member arrived on our doorstep at 7pm and then the fun began...
My dear husband/colleague went first. I tended to the Munchkin upstairs. (The reviews happened at our house so that Munchkin could do her regular bed-time routine with us instead of either being up late or trying to fall asleep with a sitter.We figure since the two of us share one FTE, perhaps it's not too much to ask to have folks come to our house when both of our presences are required. Plus, I served angel food cake with peaches, raspberries and whipped cream. I try to make sure there's a plus-side whenever people accomodate us.)
I think the reviews went okay. We ended up mostly reviewing ourselves - there wasn't a lot of feedback from the two folks involved - it sounds like the whole council will get a turn to add their two cents at our meeting later this week. I'm not sure how I should feel about that. We'll see...
The best part about the review, as far as I'm concerned, is the opportunity to articulate a few goals for the year. Next year's review will start with those. I'm hoping to help more adults get involved in Bible study groups, do a sermon series, spend more time with members/friends of the congregation in their homes/places of work/favorite lunch or coffee spots, and be more intentional in building relationships with and among the college students who worship with us during the academic year. They're all pretty do-able, I think.
Of course goal-setting is important to me generally - how else would one become a "queen of lists"? That said, a lot of my daily to-do's don't always get done. Yep. No photo taken today. I was tempted to take a picture of the Munchkin standing up in her crib with a huge goofy grin on her face, but didn't want the flash to get her all riled up again.
So- here's a photo from the weekend. We spent Sunday afternoon at the local Sweet Pea Festival of the Arts. The Munchkin's first outdoor concert: Shawn Mullins. Not too bad.
The Munchkin and her Daddy at Sweet Pea
Tomorrow: back to work. And there WILL be a photo!

Monday, August 8, 2011

One more thing...

Now that the house is quiet and I'm the last creature awake, I'm catching up a little on some blog reading. One of my favorite things about "wasting" time this way is the wonder-of-the-internet: how you can spend huge amounts of time just clicking links and seeing where they take you. That's especially true on some of the blogs I read.
In case you need a laugh, go read this.

Productive Produce

Today was my first regular day off since late June. And it was a pretty good day. One of the best things about it was actually getting to sleep until I was ready to get up; no alarm was set, the Munchkin managed to go back to sleep a few times. Glorious. The past few weeks have been a bit hectic - VBS last week, the week before we were at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp as camp pastors, and the week before that was a Middle School Day Camp, called "Service Plunge." All three weeks were great, but all three weeks were BUSY, and meant that our regular schedule of who's in the office when (and who gets to stay home to Munchkin-sit) went directly out the window.
I'm hoping that our schedule works mostly as planned for at least a week or two. We'll see...
Another great thing about today was tending to some of the fruits and veggies we've purchased over the last few days: dehydrated the last of the strawberries this morning, and several pounds of Bing cherries are dehydrating now. We bought multiple bunches of carrots at our Farmers Market Saturday (for two years in a row we have inadequately thinned the carrots in our garden, so they're pretty dang tiny...). And today I made pickled carrots - something I haven't eaten in years, but which I remember eating a lot of as a kid. Then early this evening, we headed to a parishioners house to pick raspberries. We've still got freezer jam in the freezer from last year's crop, so we're just going to enjoy these fresh and maybe freeze a few for winter smoothies and bowls of Cheerios.

8 pints of pickled carrots. They got cooked a bit past "tender."
We're hoping we don't end up with pickled mush!
 After the Munchkin went to bed we sat out on our deck for the first time this summer (long story) and watched the sunset as we made a meal plan for the week. Then we watched a thunderstorm roll in to the south of us. Quite spectacular. (The storm, not the meal plan... though the meal plan should prove incredibly tasty, make the most of local fresh produce and what's already in our freezer, and lead to minimal food waste).
All in all, a good day. The to-do list was only partly completed, but then I am an over-ambitious list maker. And there's always tomorrow.

 -- Speaking of which, it's my goal to at least post a picture-a-day for the next week. I'm hoping it will help me pay attention to what's happening around me, and maybe I'll capture a few fabulous photos while I'm at it.