Tag Archives: friends

A Season of Thanksgiving

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Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada and for several years I’ve practiced what I call a Season of Thanksgiving.  A season that goes from Canadian Thanksgiving through Americian Thanksgiving.  We have much to be thankful for and it seems like thanksgiving just get’s lost between Halloween and Christmas.  Even when we are in the midst of our own dakness or dispair there’s something to be thankful for – for we worship a God who grants us grace and unconditional love every second of every day.  So I challenge you to join me in my thanksgiving journey.

Today I start off with a thanksgiving that just sort of fell into my lap last night because off facebook.  When we served in GA I was a member of a knitting group that meet every Friday evening to knit, crochet, (sometimes spin yarn) but always share together.  Share lifes joys and lifes sorrow.  We were an ecclectic group – I’m still not sure how to describe us other than a group of compassionate fiber loving friends.  I’m thankful for all this group of ladies did for me while I lived in GA but more specfically I’m grateful for the opportunity to reunite with them next weekend.

Every year at the agriculture center outside of Asheville there is a fiber festive that is miainly hand spun and hand dyed yarn.   Booths full of roving for spinning and felting and every tool imaginable to fiber loving people.   I’ve been a couple of times and ran into folks from my GA group but never have I stayed with them but this year that’s changing.  I’m going up Friday evening and coming back Saturday.  Im super excctied after the exhauusting weeks we’ve had arouund here it will be nice to just hang with some good friends and make some new friends.  

So today I’m thankful for fiber loving friends from GA!

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Another Friday with Randomness

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It’s hard to believe another Friday is here — so that mean’s it’s Friday Five time again over at Revgalblogpals.  Here’s today’s questions and ponderrings:

 Hello gals and pals,
It’s the second Friday of the month, and you know what that is~~~Random Friday Five! Have fun, and enjoy! (as always, let us know that you played in the comments–whether you play in the comments, link to your blog, or on Facebook!)

1. How do you sign off in your emails, professional and personally? For example, you say “Blessings”,
“Take Care”, “Remember, the Devil is watching you” (o.k. just kidding on that one.) Let us know and why…

2. If you were an animal TODAY, what is it and why?

3. If you get snarky, what triggers it? If you don’t get snarky, please, what is the secret?

4. Look up from your computer/tablet/phone screen. What is the first favorite thing your eyes land on. Describe it. (For example, I just did this, and my eyes landed on a little angel made out of multicolored wires whose head and wings are quite askew because of being chewed upon by my puppy. That aside, I love it because it was a gift from two little girls who came often to my office in my last call to play with all the tshotke on my table. They wanted to add to it.)

5. Do you have a favorite pair of socks? Tell us about them!

 

1.  Depends on the content and audience of my emails — for church stuff I almost always use Blessings, Pastor Kelly, for friends it might be blessings, might be love followed by Kelly or simply K.  I also have a signature line for my professional it has job title and contact info for my very personal account there is a knitting quote.

2.  I think my animal choice for today would be a dog because I could get lots of snuggles and yet if at a dog park — I’d be able to run free.  Both of which describe my complex being today.

3.  If I get snarky it should be worded for me — when I get snarky — mostly when I’m exhausted physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted.   But it can happen easily if my fibro is flaring and I’m full of pain and someone says something without thinking.

4.  Owls — I love owls and sheep and owls tend to decorate my bedroom so I have some clings on my walls and a knitted owl on my dresser.

5.  My favorite socks are the ones I knit but my really favorite are the ones I knit for Dear Husband, littleman and I — yup we all have matching socks.  

 

                                                    

#RallyRevGals — Peggy 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.

I couldn’t narrow it down to just one woman who has helped me along in my 16 years of ministry, so over the next few days I will be blogging about a few more.  But here’s today’s special woman who deserves to be upheld as someone who cared and countinues to care for me as a pastor and a person.

In every church we’ve served I’ve found that there are a couple of lay people with whom I develop a special bond with.  Usually that bond is strenghtened by their witness to me and their unconditional love and support of me as their pastor.  It’s not that they wouldn’t be honest with me but perhaps it’s because they are honest – honest with constructive criticism and honest with compliments and words of encouragement.  There was always a feeling I had that this person had my back and was praying for me. 

 As I mentioned thankfully I’ve had this at every church that my husband and I have served but a few stand out.   One of those is a lady named Peggy.  Every Sunday Peggy and her children and grandchildren where in church I knew that I would be given a hug that would fill me with the energy and the joy that I would need to face whatever may come my way till we meet again.  Along with that hug were words such as “I love you so much”, ” Your prayers are so special and sincere”, ” You have gifts for ministry and I’m glad your my pastor” etc.   We all long to hear those words but we also recgonize that being ordained and thus behind the pulpit often set us apart from hearing those words that help sustain our beings.

My bond with Peggy I believe is unbreakable.  I haven’t been her pastor in close to 10 years but her family and my family still maintain contact (her daughter and son in law are our littleman’s Godparents) and in many ways I see her as an unofficial grandma to my littleman.  I’ve sat with her through declining health of herself and her husband.  After moving away I returned (within the boundaries set and with permission) to help officiate at her Granddaughters wedding, her husbands funeral and sadly her son’s funeral.  It’s just not every day that you can do those things but when some people ask you know in your heart your meant to be there and woulnd’t be anywhere else.

Peggy is a special lady and although she is now limited in the ways that she can serve I know that she serves a risen God with a servants heart.  Every pastor should be blessed to have a Peggy in their life.  Peggy has ralleyed around me and help me to remember at times why I do what I do and who it is that I serve.  I’m so blessed to have her in my life!

 

 

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.

Hard to believe its Friday Again

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I just had the opportunity to spend a few days with ring member St. Casserole. I still remember the first blogpost of hers I read, both its detail and its whimsy, but at the time I had no thought we would ever meet and become friends “in real life,” as they say. Still, I encountered something in her turn of phrase that made me come back again and again, and eventually led to both a trip to her part of the world to volunteer after Hurricane Katrina and to the founding of RevGalBlogPals.

In this week some of us are preaching about a woman who encounters Jesus at the well, please name five encounters in your life leading to unexpected results. They might include learning a new skill, making a friend, falling in love, discerning a call or anything around or far off from those ideas.

  1. In the summer of 2003 I was in my second pastorate and went to the Interprovincial Women’s Conference that the Moravian Church in north America holds every 4 years.  I meet lots of folks at these conferences and many of them seem to know who I am but I feel so bad because often I don’t recall who they are.  Female clergy are almost always being asked to talk or rather listen and offer prayer.  But 2003 brought a different encounter for me.  I met someone who herself was feeling called to ministry and was my age.  We hung out a bunch and I believe I was with her when she received word from home that she had been accepted at Duke divinity School.  I prayed for her often but our paths didn’t really cross again for 5 years when she was asked to be the lay delegate and I the clergy delegate for a consultation that was to be held in Herrnhut Germany.  How elated I was when I found out who would be my traveling companion and together we did travel from Raleigh to London,  London to Prague (where we spent a few days) and then by train and eventually bus from Prague to Herrnhut Germany (our moravian home, so to speak).  But not only did we travel the world together our spirits were united in a friendship that today spans several states.  She’s my biggest supporter when it comes to taking time to care of myself and she helps me help the church see mental illness as something we need to do more than talk about.  She has become one of my dearest friends and without her I can’t imagine my life.  Daily I thank God for text messages, Facebook and other sources of modern technology.
  2. In a similar way I was at a youth convocation while in college and my room-mate and I had no idea who each other was.  She was from  North Carolina and I from Western Canada.  We chatted at night but didn’t really hang out as we travelled in different circles that week.  Fast forward several years and we would almost be room mates again but this time at Moravian Theological Seminary.  Her apartment was on the same floor as my soon to be husband and my first year of marriage my husband often jokes he thought he was married to both of us – as he would often have to kick us out of our apartment so he could go to bed….but we would just pick up bookes and our Pepsis and move on over to her apartment.  Both of us ordained now and we’ve never served any closer than 5 hours from one another but our friendship spans the states as we seek to support one another in ministry, motherhood, and basic day to day issues of juggling husbands, children, congregations, and our personal lives.  I’m blessed beyond measure by her friendship and the knowledge that I know she’s only a call away whenever I need a familar and comforting voice…..the icing on the cake is that she gets being a couple in ministry as her husband to is clergy.  But the cherry on top is that she blessed my life with a God daughter to love and by girly things for.
  3. While serving our second church my husband and I suffered several miscarriages and then infertility.  I carried one baby into my second trimester and ended up having to have a D&E.  I was eaten up over it and had lots of questions.  Normally I could turn to my husband for support but he was grieving also and we were at different places.  I turned to a bishop who I barely knew.  (In the Moravian church a bishops primary function is to be a pastor to the pastors, at that time and currently there were/are no female bishops in the south).   This bishop listened to me as I cried and grieved the loss of children, the longing to be a mother and the wondering of the theological implications of where my babies were.   But he also listened as I wondered if any of the trauma I had suffered as a child had any implications as to why I couldn’t have children – was God punishing me I wondered.  He never judged and has never judged me.  He gently reassured me and reminded me that I am a beloved child of God.  To this day he’s my pastor!  When we moved to the metro Atlanta area and adopted our son, it was he who travelled to baptize him – so that day Joe and I could be mommy and daddy.  It was he who visited me while I was on leave recently and he who visits our littleman when he has been sick and hospitalized.  Why is he an unlikely encounter – because of the trust I have for him!
  4. While in seminary I was also blessed to have a counsellor who later became more of a mentor.  She hugged me when I cried, she guided me through many life transitions – especially from being single to being married.  She listened and when all I could see was darkness she saw the light.  The light of Christ that surrounded me and was within me.  To this day when something significant happens she’s on my list of people to call to ask for prayers, to ask for advice or to simply just listen.
  5. I’m a knitter – not the greatest knitter – but when you are a knitter you find that knitters bound together in ways that are unexplainable.  I’ve got great friends whom I’ve never met but whom I text on a regular basis, I daily interact with a group of knit biters on ravelry that are truly my fiber loving sisters.  While in the Atlanta area I knit with a group of eclectic ladies on Friday nights that I knew had my back if I ever needed them.  We supported one another and helped one another in knitting projects but more importantly in life.  And even in my current setting I’ve got friends that the only reason our paths crossed was our love of yarn and our favorite yarn store.
  6. Okay I have 6 – I would be missing two of the most important people if I didn’t bend the rules just a bit.  My husband, my soul mate, my partner in life and ministry.  It’s he who picks up after me when I’m unable to do so myself.  God richly blessed me that first day of seminary in the first person I met – neither of us knew two years later we would be saying “I do”!  Together we have an 8 year old littleman who reminds us to take time and play, who makes us laugh on a daily basis and is forever keeping us on our toes.
Thanks for a great Friday five (or six), reminds me how blessed I truly am.  Truth be told I could have named five or so more folks whose encounters have impacted my life beyond my wildest imagination.  Thanks be to God for having my path cross with so many amazing men and women!

It’s Playtime – Friday Five Style

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It’s Playtime – Friday Five Style
You guessed it, today’s Friday Five from the RevGalBlogPals is all about play.  I know I’ve promised many of you a post or two about my journey of becoming a United States Citizen and I promise I will get there but first lets play Friday Five!
1. Tell about your favorite outdoor play:   Being a mom of a little boy who loves to be outside but also being a mom who is at times limited to how much physical activity I can do, I’m often trying to strike a delicate balance.  Allowing myself to free enough to play with him and yet taking care of my body.  Last summer at the beach our family bought an Angry Bird kite (yes at one if those cheesy beach stores).  My husband groaned a bit about the $5 kite and another $5 for a nicer reel.  That night we headed out to the beach as a family and I can’t tell you for certain who had more fun (my husband, my then 6 year old or me).  Guess what we did the next day?  Yup went back and bought another kite.  I LOVE flying a kite it’s so freeing for me .  Theres no better way to describe it than its FUN to fly a kite.  The butterfly kite that is pictured is one I took at a recent family adventure to a Kite Festival in Salem, VA (one of the best days we’ve had as a family in a long time).  Perhaps one day I will own a more girly kite but first I need to find a good spot locally to fly them.
Another simple and childlike thing i love to do outside is blow bubbles.  My husband and I spent the better part of the evening of our 15th wedding anniversary blowing bubbles off the porch of a cabin in the mountains (so grateful for church members who share).  It was so cool to sit and blow bubbles out of a variety of wands and bubble toys and watch them take on a life of their own.  Blowing bubbles with my dear husband was great fun and its equally fun to blow them with my littleman.  I also experience great joy watching him blow them and our dog jump to try to catch them.
I love to take pictures when I’m out and about.  I’ve never taken a class, my pictures aren’t perfect, but seldom a day goes by that I don’t snap a picture (with my phone or my basic Fuji Finepix).  Anything that catches my eye becomes a picture in my rather expansive digital collection.  Pictures of flowers, pretty sunsets or cloud formations, pictures of people playing (especially my Littleman or those who I love), and life in general.  After all there is a famous saying “A picture speaks a thousand words!”
So in short:  bubbles, kites, attempts of taking pictures and occasionally a creation with colorful chalk.
2. Tell about your favorite indoor play:  knitting, sewing, crafting, coloring.  Yarn brings me a sense of deep peace and there’s not much better than a comfy place to sit, something to drink, and a groups of like minded fiber loving friends.  Ahh I miss my Friday evenings at a Tea House In the metro Atlanta area.  A well loved hymn of mine has these words “What brought us together, what joined our hearts….” For this group of fiber loving friends it was the fiber and knitting (ok and crocheting) that brought us together and it was the fellowship, the laughter, and the friendship that emerged out of an otherwise unlikely crew.  It is this group I miss the most since our move to NC in 2011.
 
Coloring is another favorite indoor play activity.  I am a happy girl with a new set of Crayola crayons, markers, or pencils (or any variations of them).  What’s even better in the last couple of years is coloring and creating with a littleman who has certainly stolen my heart.  I have a great rolling tray in my office loaded with colorerful goodness waiting to be…..
3. Tell about a game you (or your friends) created:  Not sure I’ve ever created a game.  Except variations of games to teach church history or to try to help my child master spelling words or math facts.  I know those are lame games but that’s all I’ve got.
4. Tell about a game that is new to you:  I love my iPad and therefore love discovering different apps.  Recently I took a break from Words with Friends (which I love but am not all that great at) and Gems with Friends.  Not sure why I took that break but if anyone is interested in a new partner – let me know. I’d love to play a few games of words with a few of my revgal pals!
5. Tell how you would like to incorporate play into your workday:  Another tough but good question.  I think about coloring, knitting, sewing, etc but I seldom have the discipline to work them into my work day. I encourage others to play and to make time for themselves.  Truth be told I need to pencil in, no use a bold sharpie, more time for play throughout my day, my week, my month, and my year.  Time to play in silence and alone, times to play with my husband and littleman and time to play with friends.  For with play comes laughter and joy and that would be good for my soul!   Play date anyone?

Real Relationships

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For a number of years now, I’ve used the worldwide web as a way to maintain old or create new relationships.  I suppose it began back in the mid 90’s as I moved thousands of miles away from my home and all that was known to me – I moved from Western Canada to the Eastern United States to begin my journey into Seminary and eventually into ordained ministry.

At first I simply used the internet to send email messages with those who I loved and who I wanted to continue to be in relationship with.  Calling Internationally during that time was expensive and it seemed to take forever to send a card or letter that distance.  So almost on a weekly basis, I would send emails to my family and friends. Updating them on my new found life, the ups and downs of seminary education and soon I used emails to inform my girl friends of my friendship with a special man that quickly stole my heart.

Communication by this medium was simply by text as digital camera’s didn’t exist and certainly there was no such thing as social networks.  The greatest words to hear upon booting my computer where “You’ve got Mail!” and soon AOL was transforming communication again as instant messages became an everyday means of communication.  I remember sitting in my office at the first church I served and becoming involved in multiple conversations at once – some with friends from high school (all the way back in Canada), some with Seminary friends (now scattered across the United States and Canada), and some with church members.  At the time it totally blew my mind that such conversations were taking place.

Little did I know that it wouldn’t be long till Facebook and other social networking sites would emerge.  It soon was common for folks to say “I’ll Facebook you, with that information”.  I never dreamed that the day would come that friends from all aspects of my life, who had never met each other, would be entering into conversations because of a picture I posted, a place I had “checked into”, a status update I had posted, or a prayer request I had made.

Email, instant messages, and even Facebook up to this point in my life had been all about maintaining relationships with people that I knew: people whom I had face to face interactions with at some point and folks whom I had been blessed with giving or receiving a hug.  Then entered the world of Ravelry, Ning, and Facebook groups formed around common professions or interests.  One didn’t have to have meet someone in the flesh to form a relationship anymore.

I didn’t ever think that I would form relationships with people that would become so a part of my everyday life.  I began to look forward to conversations with some groups in Ravelry and on Facebook and it wasn’t long until I talked about some of these people in conversations with my husband at the dinner table.  I cared about them, I prayed for them, and we even on several occasions exchanged gifts as we reached certain milestones in our lives or because we saw something (often Yarn) that made us think of each other.  When my littleman graduated preschool he got Legos in the mail from someone he had never met.  Very real relationships were formed and my life was blessed in indescribable ways.

In the fall of 2012 I sat with some of my brothers and sisters in ministry in a retreat on Sabbath keeping where these relationships were called into question.  Computers, internet, and social networking sites were blamed on part for the demise of our culture.  Some vocal folks stated that relationships on Facebook or other sites were not “real” and there wasn’t any authenticity to them.  I know that there are folks on the internet who claim to be someone they aren’t but aren’t there people who you work with or live next to that do the same thing?  Yes there is a risk you take when you “put yourself out there” and yes one can be hurt if they are not careful.  No relationship comes without risks!

The emergence of social networks has allowed me the joy of relationships with people who understand the extremes of ordained ministry and with folks who have helped me feel connected when otherwise I felt isolated.  My littleman has encountered some rare health issues for children and without Ravelry, I might never have met a friend who has twins who as children and young adults also suffer from pancreatitis. I myself suffer from a chronic condition that leaves me with widespread pain most days and I’ve been blessed with friends who listen to my rants and offer encouragement, encouragement that I need as I seek to be an encourager in my vocation.  I have friends because of Ravelry and even Facebook that have insights on how to raise a little boy and teachers who offer words of advice as I’ve encountered issues (good and bad) as he’s entered the world of public schools.  Need I say, my knitting skills have been greatly aided by the numerous knitters who I interact with pretty much every day.  And of course, I can’t begin to tell you the vast amounts of times when I have laughed so hard I’ve cried at folks status updates, blog posts, emails, or message board comments.  Virtual relationships have indeed been “real” to me and have allowed me to be “real”.

About a week ago, a group I belong to (yes on Ravelry) lost a member after her courageous battle with cancer. She left behind young children, a husband, and other family members but she also left behind a virtual group who was profoundly touched by her whit and her strength.  As I read post after post and message after message I couldn’t help but recall that conversation  I was a part of back in the fall and I couldn’t help but want to stand up and say it is indeed possible to have REAL relationships with people that you meet online!