Monthly Archives: November 2015

Mixed Emotions

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Today was the birthday of Joe’s Uncle, who died two or three years ago.   He and his wife had no children, so they treated Joes family almost like their own children.   I to mourn his death and remember fond memories of him.

Today also,marked the due date of the baby I carried the longest (14 weeks).  It was my second miscarriage and I had just stopped holding my breath hoping that meant this was a viable pregnancy.   But just two weeks, into my second trimester, I would find out otherwise.   My heart was torn up and I felt so broken.

I remember our late night visit to Women’s  Hospital in Greensboro because of some severe cramping and some traces of blood. We got to the hospital and the mid wife on call for our Drs office was awaiting my arrival.

They took us back and the first sign of concern was not being able to hear a heartbeat.   Several people tried and couldn’t find it.   So then came blood work and an ultrasound.   Which concluded the baby had indeed died.   Surgery was scheduled for Tuesday – so I would have to wait for over 24 hours before they would perform the surgery.   It was the longest day of my life, spent in bed.

My D&E was scheduled on my MIL’s birthday.   So this baby is meant to be remembered.   I had a total of 7 miscarriages and several years later would have 1 more.   Following the loss of the first 7 I began to suffer from infertility.   I did the specialist at Duke thing and we tried meds and finally I said stop – I can’t handle this any more.  I would wait, full of stress and anticipation, to see if I had conceived each month – when I did I sort of distanced myself from the pregnancy.  Hoping and praying that between, before , and during each of my checkouts that I would get confirmation that everything was alright (that never happened).

So my main mixed emotion is the grief  and pain that I still feel (everyone else has moved along in their life).   I suffer and am down each year at this time.   Yet on the flip side I know that if I had carried to term  any of those pregnancies – my current littleman, who is adopted, likely wouldn’t have been with us. The simple thought of what his life might be like if we hadn’t signed papers choosing to make him our son, is extremely scary.  He could be deceased, addicted to drugs, homeless or in the social services care department and bouncing between foster parents home.   With us he has a house, food, toys and unconditional love.

So today we honored Uncle Steve, I grieved alone, and yet was thankful for a child whom I believe was a gift of God.

Miscarriages are kept brushed under the rug for the most part, yet for women the grief is real and painful (and sometimes the dad also).   I think we need to, as a church at the very least, find ways to help parents process the loss of a child before birth or at birth, we need not be afraid of it.   Great healing could occur if only we gave the gift of listening and honoring their loss.

Today was indeed a day of mixed emotions and I was grateful for the most part  that I could just stay in bed and rest.

As a challenge I encourage folks who have suffered miscarriages to share their stories and those who have not to be good listeners and offer love and support – don’t let us suffer alone anymore.   Lastly, when gathered as women talking birth experiences be mindful that this can trigger emotional responses from those for whom would never experience birth pains and breast feeding options.

Let us bind together and turn a once taboo subject into a story and journey we are willing to take with someone who’s had suffered a great loss.

It’s Still Friday and I’m Playing…

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In this week of the world spinning off into melt down; and fear and mistrust being the dominant emotions, let us create a wee pool of loveliness….
On Tuesday on the Facebook page a thread of fluffy kittens and heartwarming YouTube clips was started to bring a little light into the darkness, this has brought laughter and feel good goose bumps to many.
On Wednesday this week, many Scottish Gals gathered in Edinburgh for a festive lunch and a time to catch up. We were celebrating a new call and a new job and an imminent wedding amongst other things, and it was a lovely, fun, noisy time!
For Friday Five this week, let’s keep the light, love and laughter going with a random selection of things to make your heart sing:
  1. Music: a song or orchestral piece that stirs your soul
  2. Indoor Place: have you got an oasis at home that you can hide away in?
  3. Outdoor Space: is it water, hills, woodland? Is it the fresh country air or the bustling city?
  4. Picture: this may be a piece of art, something you created, something someone gave you…
  5. Person: do you have a go to person, for when the world is crowding in?

The title might catch some off guard but the reality is, it’s usually Saturday before I get around to playing the Friday Five with the rest of the Revgalsblogpals — so it’s a major event that I’m actually playing on time (well at least in my time zone).  So here we go:

  1.  Music:  being a music major there are lots of pieces of music from many genres that speak to my heart and stirs my inmost being or my soul.  However,right now what I need most is, the reminder that God is always there no matter where I may find myself – emotionally, physically, geographically, and /or spiritually – the song would  then be Always There  by the Canadian Tenors.  Perhaps not the best video but one can be found here.
  2. My indoor oasis: wish I could say it was my sewing room but it only seems to be a cluttered mess where everyone dumps things.  So I would say my office.  The space that’s mine, filled with things I want on the walls, a nifty cart from Ikea filled with coloring instruments, and of course the bed of my favorite 4 legged family member – Amos.
  3. Outdoor Space: any place with a water fall or the sound of water.  Water moving is very soothing for me and I think very majestic.
  4. Picture:  oh another tough one.  I could choose so many.  To play nice I won’t sit here and list or show all my favorites (but maybe a few).  However at the top of the list is the set of 4 prints that a photographer took when my little man was just a month old.  They are in black and white and have various amounts of me in them.  They are all small and framed together – the first you can clearly see my face and my hands holding his head, the second you see just my black shirt and my cross necklace and a close up of him cuddled close but facing towards the camera, the third is a side view of both of us and he is so expressive as he turns his head towards the photographer, the last you can just see my smile and again I’m holding him outwards with my hands under his head.  I can only imagine what I might have been saying to him but it clearly shows the bond that God placed between us – as child and adoptive mom.  To top it off it’s almost 10 years ago, where oh where has that time gone? (I’d show you the picture but then it would be a copyright breech so you’ll just have to use your imagination).

4b.  Second Picture: A mosaic in the form of a heart.  This was given to me by a lady in the first congregation we served.  I doubt she knew that 16 years later I would still cherish it — it reminds me of the fact that my heart is so broken at times, yet God can and will help mend it, molding it, glueing it back together all by the means of  underserved yet granted grace, mercy, and unconditional love.

5.  Person: I have different go to people in different settings.  Or maybe I wouldn’t call them go to people in the terms of telling them what’s on my mind but people that help me be centered and know I’m safe, God usually provides that for me — and no words could describe my emotions, my fears when I don’t have that person.  However, my always, always there for me person is my best friend.  Never lived in the same town but always just a text, a call, an email, or even a Facebook post away.  Some of you may have seen she was just named Dean of Faculty at Pittsburgh Theological School .  We share a lot in common but most significant is our passion for better mental health awareness and care within our churches and the world around us.

 

From Curtain Rods to Grave Markers

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Julia reminds us of today’s blogging task:  “NaBloPoMo Day 5: I had a little furnace mishap at church on Sunday. What’s something you’ve done for your work that wasn’t exactly in the job description?”

Our first call was to a relatively small church in Cinnaminson, NJ.  The church had it’s own grave yard but most everyone was certain that most of the plots had been used.  However, it wasn’t long until we found out that one of the grave plots was purchased for a long time member who was extremely inactive and who had recently died.  Well we kinda found out that the grave digger was planning to come later that afternoon and dig the grave.  We had no idea what to do — so we do what most would do and call the chair of the trustees.  He tells us that there is a map with dimensions and names for the graveyard in such and such cabinet.  Lo and behold this person did indeed have a plot.  So we pondered how we would be able to tell the grave digger where to dig.  The chair of the trustees wasn’t sure what to do either.  So me in my infinite wisdom said wait I’ll grab my sewing meaning tape and we can find something to mark off where we measure.  Joe goes to find something in the shed to use as markers and I run into the parsonage and grab my tape measure.  We meet back at the grave yard, with map of the graveyard, sewing tape measure and a couple of broken curtain rods to use as markers.  I’m sure we looked like a bunch of crazies out their in the grave yard and I’m thankful no one saw us.  However we did get that grave measured and marked and the grave digger was mighty impressed when he came.  I however, recall nothing after that — I’m not even sure if we did the service.  I was just relieved to have the graveyard stuff settled.

BTW this is also the church that had one of it’s tombstones was featured on the cover of Weird New Jersey

NaBloPoMo Day 4

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“Photo post time!! Take a picture of something you see all the time- the simpler, the better. Write a little about what the thing means, symbolizes, reminds you of… Give us a little glimpse into your world.”

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I realize it’s not the clearest picture but it’s the best I could do with the time of day and the darkness of my chestnut paneled office*.  So what you see is what I see when I look up from my desk.  I have an old roll top desk that is passed down to the oldest in the family on my husbands side, so we inherited it when we moved to NC — all I can say is good thing I have a laptop and not a computer with a big screen because life would be hard to manage with this desk.  One thing I wish about the desk is that the roll top actually closed – I’m sure I could get it fixed however that is down the list on the money to do list.

Anyhow, what you see to the left of the picture is some light in tulle that have become my curtains/valences on all three of windows — helping bring a little bit more light to this dark office.  On my desk are significant pictures:  a wedding picture, a picture of our consecration as Presbyters**(Joe and I together kneeling and the bishop laying hands on us), a similar picture of my ordination as a deacon (just me with the Late Rt. Rev. Percy Henkleman officiating (he was a beloved Canadian bishop).  Then there is a magnet board that has a picture of my little man when he was really little sitting on his daddies lap reading my small purse bible, a magnet poem about how to love a child, a picture of me from my knitting days at the Tea House with my GA knitting group, and another magnet with who our God is.  Also include are a plate from the holy land brought back by a dear friend, a teddy bear that says Jesus Loves you, and what you can’t see are wooden signs stacked upon each other that say (top to bottom) I love My Dog, I love Palmyra, and I love Cinnaminson (the towns we served in during our first call).  Also above those is a Boyd’s bear porcelain doll with a fire hat holding a dalmatian, and a fire truck (reminders of my time as chaplain to the Palmyra Fire Department.  Above that stuff is a oil drip pan (an idea off Pinterest and supper cheap at Auto Zone) with quotes that inspire me in ministry and life.  Few people come into my office because it’s in the parsonage so it has all sorts of quotes with some room for more.

I’m not sure that make much sense to anyone but me but things in my office are finally coming together after being here 4 years.  It’s starting to become a space I love and am proud to call my office.  There’s still a bit of work to be done since the dump from the guest room as the ceiling collapsed in there.  But I’m getting there and both are far more organized than just wanting things to be out of boxes.

I hope that gives you a glimpse of my daily life and i look forward to seeing what you see each day.

* Double click on the picture and it becomes a bit clearer

** In the Moravian Church there are three orders of ministry.  Once finished seminary and have received a call you are ordained a deacon, then about 5-7 years into ministry the church and you re-affirm your call to ordained ministry, you are ordained a Presbyter (sadly no more money, no special privileges, except the one I’m about to mention). The third order of ministry is Bishop this is done by ecclesiastical ballot and only Presbyters are allowed to be placed on ballots.  Bishops are elected at Church Synod (held every 4 years) and only if a resolution passes the floor and deemed necessary.  So basically being a bishop is something that not many achieve.  A Bishop in the Moravian Church’s primary function is to be a pastor to the pastors, along with some advising on theological issues, and often presiding at communion when we gather together as clergy.  Again it comes with no raise and only give you more work.  It takes a bishop to ordain and to consecrate anyone.

NaBLoPoMo Day 3

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NaBloPoMo Day 3: What’s your random obsession? The Tudors, tie-dye, the perfect sauerbraten recipe… Tell us a little something about your secret or not-so-secret love.  
I love to buy yarn and fabric – neither of them from cheap stores.  I love the feel of the texture and the vastness of colors, shapes, and patterns.   The problem becomes that I way to much of both – I’d have to knit and/or so everyday for several months to use it up.   Like I as wife, mother and pastor have time to DK that!

I’m trying to diet from purchases of either till my stash is becoming to small to choose from!