Friday, November 30, 2007

A Grumpy Friday Five

I gues I'm not the only grumpy Rev Gal.
Will Smama invites us to get it out of our systems now so we can enjoy the onset of Advent. She says, "For those of you with a more positive attitude, have no fear. I am sure more sacred and reverent Friday Fives will follow." I think she is probably right, but for now, here are her "grumpy" questions--all in good fun: Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....

1) dessert/cookie/family food
Fruit cake. My mom used to send them to us when she still lived in Texas. Does anyone actually like fruit cake? I also hate that sickeningly sweet, frothy Christmas treat known as "Divinity." Bleech!

2) beverage
Egg Nog. Too too too sweet. If I can dilute it about half and half with milk I can tolerate it.

3) tradition
I love Christmas traditions. I can't honestly think of one I do not least not at the moment.

4) decoration
We had an ugly red star atop our tree for some time that looked just like the above picture. A year or so ago we replaced it (finally!) with an angel. I'd like a nice star, but I can't find one.

5) gift (received or given)
See question number one. Then there was that time I got socks, and the time....oh never mind...

BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it.
Jingle Bells. That is THE MOST OVERPLAYED SONG in the world!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Few Family Photos

Trinity and Grandpa Ken

Josh clowns around as he prepares to carve the turkey.

Kris makes the gravy. Mmmm Mmmmm!

Time to leave Minnesota to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Wisconsin.
Good morning!

A visit to Great Grandmommy Leta in the nursing home.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Anybody on TV Get It Right?

In response to my Grumpy Part II post below, Crimson Rambler asked us if any television shows get it right. What good things do you recall, moments of "truth" or clarity....or? Good question. What do you think? And hello, C.R. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Post Thanksgiving Friday Five

Ah, the day after Thanksgiving--groan! Fortunately, I love Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thanksgiving is the American holiday when the greatest number of people travel somewhere else to celebrate. I am posting this from my son’s home in Minnesota where we are recovering from the food shopping and the preparations and the meal and the clean up. It is difficult to think of anything requiring much energy today, and I am enjoying my sweet baby granddaughter, so I will keep it simple.

For those of you not in the USA, I apologize for the nationalistic tone of this Friday Five!
1. Did you go elsewhere for the day, or did you have visitors at your place instead? How was it?
Kris and I cooked at Josh's house. Ken entertained Trinity--he has a broken leg and is pretty much off his feet. Kris' husband, Daryl, came over after work and he and Josh got turkeys on the grill. Smokey barbequed turkey is yummy! Trinity has found her voice. For a long time she was pretty quiet. No more. She smiles non stop, and she tends to yell happily. BAH! DOO JAH! Like that. She had all of us laughing.

2. Main course: If it was the turkey, the whole turkey, and nothing but the turkey, was it prepared in an unusual way? Or did you throw tradition to the winds and do something different?
See above. We've been grilling turkeys on the Webber grill for many years now.

3. Other than the meal, do you have any Thanksgiving customs that you observe every year?
We usually get out the Mah Jong set and play, or we play other games. This year we ate later than usual, and Trinity was cranky because it was her bedtime, so they went home and Ken and Josh and I vegged out on the couch. Josh was snoring in about five minutes, and Ken and I watched "The Incredibles." Maybe tomorrow we'll get some game playing in.

4. The day after Thanksgiving is considered a major Christmas shopping day by most US retailers. Do you go out bargain hunting and shop ‘till you drop, or do you stay indoors with the blinds closed? Or something in between?
One year Kris and I shopped on the Friday following Thanksgiving, and it was such a hassle we haven't done it since. But this year she is getting up to be at the store at six a.m. for someting she really wants, and she says she will go home and go back to bed. I will stay snuggled in bed till I have to get up, and then I will not likely shop. That could change, depending.

5. Let the HOLIDAY SEASON commence! When will your Christmas decorations go up?
I like them up right away. This year I'm not sure what will happen because Ken is unable to do any of the work. I'll be fortunate to get the tree up and the decorations lugged upstairs. No one will be visiting our place this Christmas (waah) so I'm not sure what I'll try to put up. The church will be decorated this week. On Dec. 2nd the local churches will have a sort of Christmas walk where we go to each church to see the decorated sanctuarys and read a portion of scripture. Our church is across from the high school, and our church is last on the schedule. From church we go to the high school for a community evening of Christmas music from local church choirs and other festivities. It's a nice way to begin the Christmas season.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I love these foot tall wooden figures. Even the backsides. I like the reminder that the pilgrims and the natives were friends. It would not last, as we know, and it was not so everywhere. The settlement at Jamestown, Virginia was not at all like the one to the north, at Plymouth Rock. The stories of Indians Samoset and Squanto are fascinating. The pilgrims would have likely all died without their help. As it was, half of their number perished the first year.
It was not long before the great experiment in "covenant" living faded, but at least in the early days, God was honored and the kindness of Jesus Christ was evident. Those early pilgrims gave thanks, not because of great abundance, or fancy homes. While Chief Massasoit and his braves were a great blessing, bringing venison and other food to the the great feast, the colonist's rations were far from abundant. They gave thanks to God because they had determined to do so, to remember the words of St. Paul, "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
I wish my friends and readers a blessed week and Thanksgiving Day. I am grateful for ways many of you have enriched my life, some in person and others through the Internet or the mail. Perhaps you are planning on sharing the traditional feast with your friends or family or perhaps it is a sad year, or a "lean" one. In each situation, it is a "good thing to give thanks to the Lord" for there is one thing we can count on--the mercy and goodness of Almighty God.
May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you in ways large and small. May you be surprised by joy, encouraged by others, loved by those whom you love. Most of all, may the matchless grace of the Lord become ever more real to you as we enter this holiday season.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Grumpy Part II

Yesterday I watched the TV program, "Criminal Minds." My husband likes it. Wonder why?
Anyway, one of the characters in this episode was a priest, "Father" Somebody. It was unclear whether he was Anglican or Roman Catholic, but he was wearing a collar, not a R.C. one. So do TV writers and costumers even know that an Episcopalian and a Catholic priest would likely wear different collars? But I digress. The thing that made me grumpy was that these three statements were made. All in one program! TWO were from my first Grumpy post!

1. "God will never send you more than you can handle."

2. "God is in everyone." (To a sadistic, twisted, murderer. Note: I love going to the prison chapel, but that is a seperate issue.)

3. "Everything happens for a really good reason."

Numbers one and two were said by the priest, in a calm, pastorly tone. ARRRRGGGGGHHHHH! Number three was uttered by a female regular on the show to a blind date as they discussed their accidental meeting earlier. He then turned and shot her.

A good reason all right. He's a crazy murderer.

Is there a person who reviews these things who might actually know what most Christian clergy people do or say?

If the American public believes the spiritual church leaders they see on TV actually say things clergy believe (I fear for many that the only ministers they see are on a TV or movie screen), it is no wonder so many unchurched folks think we are a bunch of brainless saps.

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Think on These Things

Over at Rev Gal Blog Pals, Songbird says:
"Friends, it's nearly Thanksgiving in the U.S. and it's the time of year when we are pressed to name things for which we are thankful. I want to offer a twist on the usual lists and use Paul's letter to the church at Philippi as a model."

Fiinally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8, NRSV)

"Name five things that are true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent or worthy of praise. These could be people, organizations, acts, ideas, works of art, pieces of music--whatever comes to mind for you."

1. Our little cat (actually my mother's cat), Patches, is lying on the desk next to the computer, gazing at me with her round, green eyes as I type. She has a quiet purr, but if I listen I can hear her little contentment motor running. We did not want a cat. We are dog people. My mother wanted a cat. But this little kitty has been a great comfort over this last year, a painful one in many ways. Her soft fur, beautiful face, "princess" demeanor...all have been a pleasure and a gift from God.

2. Music. Isn't music the most amazing gift? I'm listening to a variety of things these days, from praise music to hymns to gospel, classical, jazz, blues, classic is amazing. This a.m. I woke up to Claire de Lune on the c.d. (alarm). Wonderful.

3. My sweet husband, patient, and loving through it all.

4. Friends and family on the journey with me. What a long, difficult trip it would be without others alongside to cheer us, laugh with us, encourage us.

5. The most wonderful gift this year, of course, precious beyond measure is beautiful little Trinity Ann, the grandchild we thought we would never have, and the bright star in a difficult time. Those are my husbands hands, and hers. She will be one year old on January 7th.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What's It Like to Visit Your Church?

This is must reading for all of us, pastors and lay people alike. If you were a visitor at your church what could happen? Everyone is responsible....!

Monday, November 12, 2007


Perhaps, conversely, every church must be a little traditional as well. Upon further reflection, it really is not a blank page when we consider how to be the church. Perhaps we should begin with scripture, not market research, "think tanks" or slogans? Just a thought. And yes, I am a bit confused these days. One thing though, it is much more important to BE the church than to DO church.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Rethinking Church

Suddenly, I don't feel so bad that I have been reading, pondering and fussing over what "church" should be for over two years now. Perhaps every church must become "emergent," to some degree whether they know it or not yet.

If even Willow Creek has to rethink how they are doing church--well--instead of trying to rephrase it, here is a link to some interesting reading.

"A blank page,"says Bill Hybels. I think he is right....can we do it?

We must, it seems, by the grace of God.

The Google Meme

Dr. Platypus tries out a different kind of meme which he got from somebody who got it from somebody else....but I thought it sounded like fun.

Here's the deal, copied from over at his place:

I’d like to suggest a meme, where the premise is that you will attempt to find 5 statements, which if you were to type into google (preferably, but we’ll take the other country specific ones if need be), you’ll find that you are returned with your blog as the number one hit.

This was kind of fun! Here are mine.

Pentecostal Emergent Egalitarian

Owl Lady Pastor

My church youth group has a drag car.

Princess Trinity Ann

Still Pondering Church

Who else wants to play? I double dog dare ya!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pastor's Boquet

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Back to Church

Yesterday the church family gave me a gift of better health in the form of paying the fee for "Curves." Lest you be affronted on my behalf, I had already told someone that this would be a welcome gift that I would likely never give myself.
At the pot luck lunch after church, a little girl gave me this cute poster she had made. A little later I received a second little sign from a different young lady.
Funny thing was, they both spelled "wellcome" in the same way.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Religious Sounding Stuff That Makes Me Grumpy

Okay, call me grumpy, but someone just said to me (about the 5,684th time I've heard this in my life), "Remember, God will never give you more than you can handle." Aaaaaarggghhhhh! I just had to write this down somewhere.


1. The one above, also rendered, "The Lord will never give you more than you can bear."

Here is what RevDrKate said to someone recently,
"I get really gnarly about that 'God never sends you more than you can handle' one....I say GOD doesn't SEND anything...God's part in it all is being with you in it! " (and I echo, RIGHT ON, SISTAH!)

2. Train up a child to know about Jesus, and that child will always return to the faith in the end.

I'm all for teaching our kids about Jesus and for praying for them, especially the prodigals. But have you heard of something called "free will?" Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he shall not depart from it" is not a guarantee of having a church-going child, even when that child become a senior citizen.

3. The husband is the priest of the home.

Puh-leeze stop saying that unless you can show me at least one chapter and verse.

4. Submission is a godly wife's highest goal.

See above. A Christan woman's highest goal should be the same as her husband's, to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
And last but not least.

5. Everything happens for a reason.

As Dr. Platypus once said, "Yeah. The devil hates you and has a horrible plan for your life." Such fatalism has no place in the thinking of a believer.

Do you have some additional stuff to share that "aint necessarily so?" (Apologies to Irving Berlin.) And for now I'll stop grumping and go work on Sunday's sermon.

RevGals Friday Five - Interviews

Mother Laura, noting that there always seem to be a few RevGals applying for new positions, brings us this weeks' Friday Five.

1. What was the most memorable interview you ever had?
I HATE interviewing. That said, the most memorable one was a long time ago. I had taken the state exam for being a probation/parole officer and (to my surprise) scored very highly. At the interview, I could think of nothing except, with each question, "I cannot do this." However, I just have to put my "best foot forward" in any interview. So I did. I was desperate for a job at the time, and I knew if they offered it to me I would feel compelled to take it. It was the only time I prayed not to be offered a job for which I had interviewed. I wasn't. Whew.

2. Have you ever been the interviewer rather than the interviewee? If so, are you a tiger, a creampuff, or somewhere in between?
Yes. I'm in between. I know how difficult interviewing can be, so I tried to be as gracious as possible. However I was sometimes amazed at the ineptitude of some interviewees. Once, the person responded negatively to every single question. Like, "Do you have any experience dealing with low-imcome clients?" "No." "Are you comfortable driving in the city?" "Uh, not really." "Are you able to handle multiple situations at once?" "Maybe not." "Any experience working with an ethnically diverse population." "Not really." At that point I looked at the young, newly graduated college guy and asked in some frustration, "Do you want to work here?" He looked very surprised, and he said, "Well, sure I do!" I felt compelled to step out and speak with him after the interview and give him just a little help about how to present himself during the next one, since he sure wasn't going to be hired at our firm.
3. Do phone interviews make you more or less nervous than in-person ones?
More. I like to see the faces of those I'm speaking with.

4. What was the best advice you ever got to prepare for an interview? How about the worst?
"They are interviewing you, but you are also finding out about them. Keep your eyes and ears open and you may find out you do not want the job." Note number one! Ha! Bad advice, "Tell them what they want to hear."

5. Do you have any pre-interview rituals that give you confidence?
I remind myself of positive things I know about myself. I talk to myself as if I am someone else giving me advice. Not exactly a ritual, but a confidence booster. Sometimes I pretend. I mean, not to be phoney, but just to pretend I am the cool, confident, attractive, brilliant person I wish I was.