Tag Archives: littleman

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.

 

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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IMG_0149   IMG_0145

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.

#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!

 

 

Organizational Style – Friday Five Style

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What a fun Friday Five over at RevGal’s this week.  Being organized is something I long to be but never quite acheive.  Everytime we move I vow it should be different here but after a few months some rooms are unorganized again — it’s like some rooms are just bound to be a chaos.  So if you feel like playing along with this week’s Friday Five please do but let me know in the comment section.  Who knows maybe together we can all have organized dwelling places – here’s what it says and the challenge on the RevGals sit:

“My daughter told me that she and her partner have different ways of organizing: my daughter puts it all in a pile, while her spouse files it. My daughter is definitely connected to me, as I tend to be a stacker of papers, photos, letters, books, clothes, etc. I am wanting to get rid of some of these piles, which I periodically do. Instead of rearranging them, I need to recycle them. So for this Friday Five, Let’s look at our organizational skills and/or clutter:

1. How do you organize? Is there a difference with various objects?

2. Do you have any cluttered spots in your office or home? Describe.

3. What do you organize well? And not?

4. What do you wish to de-clutter?

5. Accomplishments in organizing or de-cluttering:”

 

Here are my attempts of answers:

1.  My organization tends to differ from room to room, depending on what is in the room and what the room is used for.  However, generally I tend to organize things with like items.  For example legos are together and an attempt is made to go by color with the bricks and like items with each other (wheels with wheels etc).

2.  There are several cluttered spots in my home and office (which is in our home).  Mostly the clutter comes in piles on my office table and the spot where we keep stuff from Littleman’s school (work, take home papers, stuff from his Tuesday folder).  And the garage/laundry room seems to always be out of control – not to mention littleman’s playroom.

3.  I think for the most part my yarn and my sewing/craft room are organized better than anything.  My yarn get’s the cedar closet on the level we mostly live on.  It’s organized by fiber content and then some is organized by project or with matching skeins.  I could live in this closet I love the colors!  Likewise my sewing/craft room which is on the lower level or basement is usually organized like item with like item or material by fiber content or season.  However the disclaimer for this room is that it often gets items dumped it in when there seems to be no where else to put it.  So every so often I have to sort through a pile or two.   What don’t I organize well?  Certainly Littleman’s things especially clothes and toys.  I tend to have clothes sorted but never want t part with them. Which is beyond crazy I know because he’s never going to be that small again and I can’t keep them forever (maybe this blog post will inspire me to do something with the baskets in his room).  As for toys, similar things happen, I don’t want to get rid of them because they have such happy memories with them.  Not to mention the fact that as soon as I think I can get rid of them, he pulls them out to play with.  His playroom (along with the family room) are filled with toys.  Time to declutter those areas but who wants to help?  

4.  What do I want to de-clutter?  I think that answer came out in the end of #3 but in order to do that I need to have a couple of days where I have some energy and perhaps a little help not to mention for them to be littleman free.

5.  Accomplishments — well thankfully as a pastor I’ve moved enough for us to declutter every now and then because of weight restrictions on the move.  So well my house isn’t up for Better Homes and Garden or HGTV it’s not up for Hoarders either.

 

Themeless Friday Five

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It’s Friday which means over at Revgals it’s…Friday Five time, here’s my attempt this week:

Hi gals and pals~~

Happy Friday to you! I don’t have a theme this week, but just a variety of questions for your writing pleasure…

1) How are you? What’s taking up your mind-heart space these days?

2) It’s St. Patrick’s Day on Monday~~will you celebrate or give a nod to it?

3) My colleague is a voracious morning reader of blogs, online news, articles, etc. What, besides RevGalBlogPals, do you look at frequently, if not daily?

4) I got nothin’ here. This is a free for all. Just tell us something!

5) Use these words in a sentence or two: map, magazine, sing, baby sloth, knit, penguin, love, weep, mountain, and messenger bag.

Have fun!

1.  Having just had a hysterectomy I’ve been thinking a lot about babies and how I will no longer be able to give birth nor was I ever able to give birth to a biological child.  Certainly adoption is a birthing process of a different kind.   

2.  Is there an official way to celebrate St. Patricks Day?   I guess some drink green beer and eat special food.  I’ll likely just wear soemthing green and send my littleman to school wearing something green.  

3.  I certainly check Facebook and Ravelry (a knitting and crocheting social network) multiple times a day.  I also daily turn it the Moravian Daily Text as my devotional guidance for the day.  I’m not much of a blog reader, unless someone links to one on Facebook or on Revgals and then I often read them.

4.   Most people know I love to knit but I also love to take pictures.  I wish I had the time and money to take some classes and if ever I am not a preacher a photographer I would like to be.  Pictures are beautiful expressions and stories.  I wish I had found a good Lenten photo a day practice to participate in.

5.  Wow this is a tough one. ….. Here goes my try…….. I set out today with just a map, magazine and some basic knitting supplies tucked in my trusty messenger bag, I quickly found myself heading towards a hiking trail on one of the local mountains – I weep as I climb as my heart is heavy.   Coming to a clearing I find that love has replaced the weeping and I knit a baby sloth and a penguin as I sing with a lighter heart.

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!