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!

I Can See Clearly Now….Friday Five

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Over at Revgalsblogpals we are challenged today with this:   

“My husband had cataract and corrective surgery this week, and he is giddy with excitement as he experiences restored vision. Listening to his enthusiastic proclamations related to his sight made me think about our senses, and what excites us about the experiences we enjoy through them, inspiring today’s Friday Five.

Please share with us:

1.  A sight or view that brings you continual pleasure

2.  A sound that brings you joy

3.  A taste that you savor

4.   A smell that brings you comfort

5.  A tactile experience that surprised you

Be sure to share a link to your blog so we can visit you and share the love!

When I hear those words “I can see clearly now….” It takes me back to college days and when my stepfather was on trial and the trial didn’t come out as I had prayed for my safety by mostly for others.   But I cried more than I had ever cried and when the tears where dried up I felt as if I could see clearly now the rain was gone.   Or that’s what it was like for a while and I shared that with my best friend at the time.  

But back to the topic Friday Five:

1.  Sight:    Flowers, a water feature (preferably a water fall) and simple peace, allowing me to breathe!

2.  A sound:    hmm that’s a tie between the the laughter of my son and my grandson and the sound of water.

3.  Taste:    I would have to say chocolate, yummy!

4.  Smell:   A fall pumpkin candle!

5.  Tactile:   My dr during a deep depressive episode told me to go to this glorious fabric store and just touch and see the beautiful fabric.   Since then fine fabric and yarn have always had a way to soothe my sole.

One Should Never Say Never…..

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It wasn’t long ago that I was on a boat with 48 other Revgals and during an ice breaker sort of activity, these three questions were asked:  Do you have a tattoo?  Would you consider getting one someday? You will never ever get a tattoo?  If you know you me you know where I fell into that group back in February — I would never ever get a tattoo.

Tattoo’s were not overly attractive to me (for the most part) and I was deathly afraid of the pain they would cause.  I respected and loved others who had them but I was certain that they were just not for me.  In addition to these reasons, I had nothing I thought that I wanted imprinted on me forever for everyone to see.

Then a couple of weeks ago both my husband and I stumbled along the semicolon project.  A project that seemed to fit my life in more ways that I can count or describe.  I suffer from clinical depression, extreme anxiety, and Fibromyalgia.  All of which can often just build upon each other and cause my depression to take me to deep dark places and often lend me to think about putting a period in my life.

Yet I also worship and serve a loving God that is with me always and has saved me from putting a period and placed a semicolon on more than one account.  I know in my head I have much to live for and be thankful for – a beautiful little boy (ok not so little at 9 but still my baby), a loving husband, wonderful friends, a calling to live my life as a servant to a God who sent his only son so that I might have life and life abundantly.

I have taken my experiences in childhood and my depression and tried to allow them to help me be a better pastor.  All of which help me empathize and at times truly understand on a deep level what the people God has allowed to cross my path are going through.  I can at times share my experience and it helps them know that they are not alone.  I’m also an advocate for better mental health care and have preached sermons where I point out the church’s difficulties caring for and understanding mental health issues and the way it affects the whole family not just the person suffering. I in no way believe that God caused me to suffer as a child, to have depression, anxiety or the chronic pain of fibromyalgia.  I do, however, believe that God can and does use these experiences to enhance my call as pastor and as a person who lives in a world inflicted with the darkness and pain of childhood mistreatment, depression, anger, violence, pain and the list could go on and on.  I can often sense one’s pain and am for the most part able to sit with them as they share or struggle to find God in the midst of their own experiences.

My husband has been extremely supportive of me for almost 20 years of knowing each other (it will be 20 years that we meet and started dating in about a month).  When he read about the Project Semicolon, he knew exactly that we would be doing this for my birthday.  His passion and support were what made me consider getting a tattoo.  If he was willing to have a semicolon permanently placed on his wrist in support of my daily struggle then why shouldn’t I be willing.  Not only will it serve as a moment by moment reminder to me to take a deep breath and even pause and remember that God is God and with me always; that it’s not time for my story to end but continue, it will also serve as another way to be an advocate for mental health and suicide prevention as I share the story of why a semicolon.

Here’s pictures of my forty-second birthday — a day I will never forget.

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Friday Five — What’s Bloomin’

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This is what’s blooming lately around my house.  I’d label them but it’s not my forte so I’ll just share the pictures.  My son says I always take pictures of flowers and he’s right but being laid up a bit more after having foot surgery these where simply taken with my iPhone and nothing special (not that my pics with my good camera are either but they are a bit better).  I look forward to seeing what’s blooming in your neck of the woods.

Having a Kiddo in the Hospital Is Harder than Hard!

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So over at Rev Gals here is their Friday Five for this week (and yes I realize it’s Saturday)!   On RevGal’s it reads and asks us to respond to the following post:

Hospitals are very much on my mind, because my husband Chuck is having his second knee replacement on Monday. We will be there very early in the morning because he is the first surgery of the day at 7 am.

So consider your experiences in the hospital in your various capacities: being a patient; parent, child or spouse of a patient; chaplain; minister; or visitor. In what ways have you experienced your times in hospitals? Think of 5 ways and share your blog address in the comments section when you play.

  1. I remember being alone with a toddler and having been to the ER for two nights in a row because as a mom I knew something was wrong.  And more than the heart burn that the dr diagnosed it as the first night.
  2. I had someone with me the first night but my husband was away as dean of Laurel Ridge so it wasn’t easy for him to get home either night or for the week that would come.  But the second night I feel blessed in some ways because the doctor working on him had a aha type moment and tested his pancreatic enzyme levels.   And yup that was the answer to the problem.  My little guy had what we thought at the time Acute Pancreatitis.  I remember that I was devastated when they told me he would be admitted for at least a week.
  3. As a pastor I knew that they don’t admit adults or children without it being a serious issue and I was scared for his life and didn’t know what to do at midnight alone with my very sick child.
  4. Thankfully my mother in law came down from Winston-Salem (a 5 hour drive) the next day to be with me and offer me some support.  The whole thing brings tears to my eyes still.  Because other than her, one friend, and daily or multiple times a day calls from my hubby (as cell service would allow) I had no support.  No church members visited or offered to bring anything.  I felt alone a lot and all I wanted to do was cry but knew that would only get my little man a little more worked up.
  5. I remember the nurse on the day we were leaving telling me that little ones that come in with numbers that high usually don’t leave.  Meaning you guessed it they die.  I’ve never forgot it and remember it every time that the doctors fear his pancreatitis is flaring because it’s not longer acute but chronic.
  6. What parent wouldn’t be freaked out and exhausted from not getting much sleep ( sleeping in bed with their little one for a week) and wondering when he was going to start to feel better and when they would stop giving him morphine and give him real food.   But as you can see from the pictures below he did get well and we did have some play time so to speak.

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Views post surgery

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I haven’t gotten nearly as much done as i thought I would with a week off my feet.  You see my mind hasn’t been able to focus much more than to color a bit off and on and to re-read parts of on of my new favorite books.  I’ve been blessed with lots of flowers two sets you see above and lots of wonderful food.  So not only have I been taken care of but my boys have also.  

Let me explain the pictures above — the top left corner is me holding my new favorite book.  It’s a book put out by REVGALBLOGPALS and is short essays about the joys, challeneges and even the laughable moments of ministry.  If you are a femaile in ministry, support a female in ministry, are a female thinking about ministry, or want to know what it’s  like to be in ministry this is a candid book about life as a female minister and you need to get your hands on a copy and start reading it.  The picture next to that is my big new boot that is my latest and greatest fashion accessory for the next 6 weeks or so. It’s not the greatest but life could be worse and once it’s gone so shall all the pain that came from my bunion.  Then there’s the two pictures of flowers that loved ones have shared with me.  Next comes coloring — one of the few things I’ve been able to focus on.   I got me a new set of markers — i love these pens/markers and 10 colors weren’t quite enough so as a surgery gift I bought a set of 20.  Something that even my littleman is enjoying as I attempt to write this blog post.  So in between the flowers and the new markers is a stainglassed butterfly I’ve started to color.  I’ll try to remember to post the finished product but please don’t hold me to that because I’m not that clear headed these days.  Now give me a few days and Ill be able to take on the world.

Thanks for the many ways you have cared for me and my family during this surgery.  My husband told me last night he was mighty impressed with how well I was doing — so I say lets keep that up!  Until next time, blessings, my friends.