Tag Archives: child of God

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.

 

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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.

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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#RallyRevGals — The Heathered Edition

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Have a case of the Augusts? Not ready for the program year to start? Thinking about how you can’t save the world, or even your little corner of it? RevGals can’t fix it all either, but we can give you a reason to post to your blog!

The #RallyRevGals Blog Contest will run from Tuesday, August 18, to Sunday, August 31. 

To be eligible:

be a member of our webring,*
1. Write a blog post about a woman who has been a positive influence on your ministry (whether or not she is/was a pastor),
2. Use the tag/hashtag #RallyRevGals in your subject line as well as categories or tags on your blog,
3. Share the link in the comments on this blog post, in the comments on the accompanying Facebook group post, or on Twitter (be sure to use the hashtag so we can find your blog post).
4. Everyone who participates will be entered in a random drawing for three prizes from our Cafe Press store.

 

Here are two more women who have rallied around me and supported me in different times and stages of my ministry.  I call it the “Heathered Edition” because both of these women are named Heather.   

Let me begin with my best friend from college and my Maid of Honor.   She came from a much more conservative church tradition than I did but it never stopped the two of us from being great friends.   During our college days we did lots of things together and I can’t even begin to imagine college life without her constant presence.  She encouraged me to be the best that I could be.  If I struggled with something academically she was there to see if she could help.   She was present at my recitals and cheered me on – even when I made plenty of mistakes and was far from perfect.  She hugged me as I cried and began to grieve the painful childhood that had haunted me.  She drove 7 hours to be with me as my church blessed me and sent me off to seminary (my home church was in Western Canada and seminary was in the Eastern USA) so this was a big move for me.  But as we sat alone perhaps in the last moments we had before I moved she handed me a card and what was in that card was her tithe from her summer job.  I was completely blown away because I knew she struggled with me going off to ministry as she herself had never had a female pastor and her tradition wouldn’t have allowed for one.  Yet she believed in my call so much that she would give her tithe to me to help with my ministry costs. This was one of the greatest gifts I ever received and one that I will never forget.  An act of stepping out in faith on her part.  She later flew to North Carolina to be my Maid of Honor and honored I was that she would once again take time and her resources to make this trip. My biggest regret is that we’ve lost contact over the years.   Regardless, she definitely rallied around me and sent me off to begin my pastoral ministry with blessing, love and support.

My encounter with the second Heather came much later in my ministry.  I was already ordained and we crossed paths at a Moravian Women’s Conference held on the campus of Wake Forest.  It started out as me supporting her as she explored her own call to ministry and I was with her that week when she received word that she had been accepted at Duke Divinity School.  The encouragement and support I offered to her soon was being offered back and became a mutual relationship.  We were blessed with the opportunity to travel to Prague and Herrnhut (the motherland of the Moravian Church) together as we were both delegates to a Worldwide Moravian Women’s Consultation — Valiant Women in a Violent World.   It is this trip that brought us closer.  When you travel with someone at that level you either know you are meant to be great friends or mere acquaintances.  Obviously, we discovered and developed a deep friendship.  We’ve never lived in the same city so email, Facebook, text messages and phone calls have been our means of communication but those means have been enough to sustain a friendship that is dear to my heart.  When Heather was ordained a few years ago, I was so excited – I hadn’t experienced that excitement since my own ordination and I was blessed to be a part of her ordination service.  I loved her so dearly that I even read scripture from Ruth (long story behind that one)!   The past few years since her ordination have only deepened our bonds as we share moments of ministry – even though we serve in very different settings.  She is a professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and I serve in pastoral ministry.   We both share a passion for raising awareness of mental illness in the church and teaching the church how to embrace and care for people who suffer with this often lonely disease.  But beyond that she’s been there as I’ve struggled with my depression and just a simple text or Facebook message from her can put a smile on my face and gives me reason to go on.  

Both Heather’s have been major life lines when I’ve needed them most.  I know that their relationships were and are a gift of God and I’m forever grateful for that.  I wouldn’t be half the pastor, mother, wife, or child of God if they hadn’t been there to rally around me and at times giving me the opportunity to rally around them.  For true friendship comes from mutual rallying.  Thank you God for these women who have greatly changed my life, may I be to others as they have been to me.

Another Year

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It’s hard for me to believe that today is the last day of being 40.  Turning 41 seems like a bigger deal than turning 40.  I guess because I feel as if I have been through a year of physical challenges and the emotional ones that go along with it and at some level hope this isn’t what all years will look like.  But I’m taking this day to begin a New Years resolution of sorts – making changes in the way that I handle life around me.  Some of those changes may be a bit scary and some of them come with a sense of relief.  If I want to live another 40 years I know that it’s time to put into practice some of the very things that I tell those I pastor on a regular basis.  It’s time to do some things that refresh me and allow my energy and God’s love and grace to flow throw me.  

During the past year my life seemingly fell apart, childhood trauma hit me again and this time as a flying brick coming out of no where.  I wasn’t expecting it to rehaunt my life but it did and it forced me into a major depressive episode which led to new meds and a new therapist.  It also was the leading cause in a medical leave of absence from the church I serve.  One of the toughest things I had to do was to stop being a pastor to others and allow some to care for me.  It wasn’t long after my return to work that I had a hysterectomy and appendectomy – another tough and emotional event.   As my 40th year was drawing to a close I returned to Canada to officiate at my grandfather’s funeral.  This proved to be a time filled with great blessing and a time of sadness as I learnt new things about my family of origin and yet was blessed with a reunion of sorts with my Aunt, Uncle,and cousins and got to meet an Aunt I’d never met.  I hope that these new and reformed relationships will grow as time goes by. I celebrated my 16th year of ordination and thus faithful service to the Moravian Church – service to a God I love and a church I deeply appreciate and care for.  

So today I spent time not only looking back over the past year but more looking into the year that lies ahead.  This morning I spent some time with my counselor and I can’t begin to emphasize how much of a life saver she was as I travelled through this past year (and I can’t help but say if you are considering getting a counselor – do it, it just might save your life too but at the very least it will enrich it).  This afternoon I’ll spend some time learning about continued ways to serve the church and this evening will be topped off with some time of doing what I love to do most knitting!

As I enter a new year of life I pray that I may more fully become the person that God created and continues to create and call me to be.  I know that takes a commitment on my part to tend to myself – my whole self- body, spirit and mind.  I make this commitment and look forward to watching the ways that will help me to grow.  I look forward to creating more (hopefully finishing my first knitted sweater), coloring more, taking time to take more pictures and letting the spirit recreate and create a new in me.  I certainly look forward to enhancing my ability to minister and going on my first cruise in February with other revgals.  Lastly, I look forward to a more uplifting year filled with the peace and hope that comes when claimed as a child of God! 

 

Sabbath between Meetings

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So I had roughly 40 minutes between meetings today and wasn’t sure what to do with my time.  I knew it wasn’t enough time to get back to my office and do anything and I couldn’t grab a snack because my next meeting was a lunch meeting.  I guess I could have sat in my hot car and responded to email’s on my phone but instead I remembered there was a park across from the restaurant that my next appointment was at and I could sit there and read, write and/or pray.  So I headed in that direction.

What a gift that decision turned out to be.  I found a delightful bench in the shade with this waterfountain in front.  Water is so soothing to me and I love to listen to it bubble and fall.  I sat there for a bit and took the opportunity to read both the daily text and a section of a book I’m reading for counseling — focusing on being in the present and the connection between mind and body.  I prayed I would continue to be present for my next appointment and then my hospital visit that would follow.  I prayed for grace for myself that I would begin to accept myself in all my bodies glory and limitations.  

Before I knew it my 40 minutes had passed but I felt renewed and refocused.   I felt alive and fresh in ways I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t accepted this gift of sabbath in the midst of the craziness of my day.  I’m reminded that God gifts us with moments like this often but we often fill those moments with acts of busyness instead of allowing God’s presence to penetrate our lives.  In addition to the gift of sabbath I believe I’ve found a new favorite spot to be quiet – it’s close to home and has water features and is super quiet – I susect it’s underused but will certainly become more used by me. 

Thank you Lord for these unexpected but much needed gifts. I enjoyed basking in your love.

Movies

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Over at Revgals this week the Friday Five is about Movies.  The author writes:

Recovering from a wee surgical procedure this week, and in the wake of the Oscars last weekend, I’ve been mindful of movies in all their assorted incarnations. For today’s ff, I hope you’ll share with us some of the movies that tickle your fancy!

1) Is there a film that so captured your imagination that you couldn’t stop thinking about it? In what way(s) did it affect you?

2) What religious/spiritual film has touched you? This could be something overtly thematic, like The Last Temptation of Christ, or something more subtle, like Enchanted April.

3) When the going gets tough, is there a film you turn to for distraction and/or to help shift your mood?

4) What is your all-time favorite movie?

5) If you were to choose a film for viewing and discussion with your congregation, what would you choose?

Bonus: If your life were to be made into a feature film, who would you want to play you?

Don’t forget to share the link to your blog in the comments if you play, and remember to visit other blogs to share in the fun.

 This is a little tougher for me as I haven’t traditionally been a movie person.  I often find it hard to sit still for a movie and would rather engage somewhere else.  But that being said I have watch some movies and will give this a Friday Five a go:

 

1.  Ladder 49, I have a passion for how firefighters work together and so often put their lives at risk to save another.  I first saw this movie not long after leaving a call where I was also volunteer fire chaplain.  It made me remember with fondness the times I had with each of them and their families.  Yet at the same time gave me renewed awe for the job they do so selflessly.

2.  CAMP :  Inspired by true stories

3.  Disney Movies and My Best Friends Wedding (Saw it the week I was to marry my best friend as an escape from the growing tensions that surrounded family dynamics.

4.  Antowne Fisher

Jerome Davenport:
“Who will cry for the little boy, lost and all alone / Who will cry for the little boy, abandoned without his own”

Antwone Fisher:
“Who will cry for the little boy, he cried himself to sleep / Who will cry for the little boy, who never had it for keeps / Who will cry for the little boy, who walked on burning sands / Who will cry for the little boy, the boy inside a man / Who will cry for the little boy, who knew well hurt and pain / Who will cry for the little boy, who died and died again / Who will cry for the little boy, a good boy he tried to be / Who will cry for the little boy, who cries inside of me”

Jerome Davenport:
Who will cry for the little boy Antwoine?

Antwone Fisher:
I will, I always do.

5.  Toss up between two:  Camp (as in the one listed in #2) it just goes to show that a little bit of love can go a long way.  the second movie would be CyberBully which could serve as a great way for young people to share with adults how tough life can be and hopefully have the church surround them and promise their support.