Monday, June 30, 2008

Knocking the Dust Off My Shoes

My last Sunday at CINS went pretty well. I held it together until the Children's Moment when I lost my composure talking about how "friends are friends forever." These kids have been so precious to me. Together, we've raised over $500 for the UMC's "Nothing But Nets" anti-malarial campaign.

I lost it again when the choir sang "Written in Red" as their final tribute to me.

And yet again, when I said that if they remembered anything from my preaching, it was all about grace.

And when I held in my arms and baptized a precious 6-week old five-one-half pound "miracle baby," and the thought crossed my mind that I would not see her grow up in this church family.

And when I gave the final benediction.

Goodbye, CINS! I will keep you and your new pastors in my prayers. Be gracious to them!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

We're Here!

We're here! Hubby and I have spent the last two days moving to new Small Town with a lot of help from our friends, both old and new. The old friends packed the U-haul at our old parsonage and the new friends unpacked the furniture and boxes at our new house.
These folks are so much fun! They are constantly teasing and picking on each other in a good-natured, light-hearted way. All of our congregations have just showered us with support and good wishes.
I think I'm going to like it here.

Monday, June 23, 2008

See Ya On the Other Side

I will be going off-line for a couple days.

We move tomorrow to new Small Town!

She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and her Godly Husband will NOT be at CINS my last Sunday! Party on!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mother of the Groom

Tomorrow, our Son and Daughter-in-Love will celebrate their first anniversary. A year ago tomorrow, I danced with my Son at his wedding.

See the young man on Son's left? That's Skater Boi. He's our Son's best friend and he spent a lot of his teenage years at our house. His biological dad lives in Florida with his 'other' family. His mom and step-father moved to Las Vegas and didn't tell him until right before the move. He was still living at home and putting himself through college. He's paid for her bad choices emotionally and financially.

He's had a really tough life for a 26 year old. I could understand if he chose to drink and do drugs. I could understand if he was a menace to himself and others, a unproductive member of society. I could readily understand if he chose to be a victim of his circumstances.

But, HE DIDN'T and HE HASN'T. Skater Boi has a deep-set of morals and values, something he didn't get from the 'responsible' adults in his life. He's worked very, very hard ... put himself through college ... has a decent job ... and now ... a WIFE.

I was honored (and totally surprised!) to be asked to dance the Mother-Son Dance with this awesome young man at his wedding to Maddo yesterday. Actually, I shared the honors with Mama Luce - another woman from the same small town who loves Skater Boi as much as I do. She and her husband shared "custody" of SB with us. Mama Luce and I were in tears. After the dance was over and we were sitting back at our table, I looked at her and said, "We did a damn good job raising that boy!" She laughed. We cried some more and hugged each other fiercely, our husbands wiping tears away from their own faces.

You just never know. It doesn't cost you any extra to be good and kind and compassionate and loving and firm and fair. And when you're raising children, what's one or two more? My heart is big enough to love more than just our biological children. You just never know.

Skater Boi (top) Mike (L)

Chris (R) Son (Bottom)

I love you, Jason! You have done very well and I am so proud of you! You ARE my son! I know you will take good care of Maddie and Eli!!!

And, if you need us, we're always here for you!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Five: Word Association

I'm taking a break from packing. Since I haven't played a Friday Five in a while, this is the almost perfect excuse!

Singing Owl says: I am feeling like playing hooky, and I'm putting off sermon prep till tomorrow. It is a beautiful, sunny day at my place. So come on outside and let's play a summer Friday Five!

This post is loosely based on previous "wordy" Friday Fives from Reverend Mother and Songbird. I liked the results, and so we are doing another word association . Theirs were based on words from a lectionary text. Mine comes from the Lovin' Spoonful song, "Summer in the City."

Think summer......are you there? Below you will find five words or phrases. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem, a memory, a recipe, or a story. You get the idea:

1. rooftop: Micah (my cat) getting out on the deck and climbing the garage roof. He fussed and fussed and cried and cried because he couldn't figure out how to get down. Son eventually climbed up and got him down.

2. gritty: How I feel right now from packing.

3. hot town (yeah, I know, it's two words): Small Nearby City when there is a BIG concert at the Pepsi Ampitheatre on the Bayfront.

4. night: I can lay down my weary head and aching body.

5. dance: "It's a Wonderful Night for a Moondance" by Van Morrison!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Check That One Off the List

I packed up and cleaned out my Church Office at CINS today. Rather than drive all my stuff 16 miles north and then take it south next week, I decided to drive it the 16 miles south to New Church on a whim.

The new folks are really shining up their parsonage. New flooring in the kitchen; new flooring in the bathrooms; fresh paint on the walls and a brand new dishwasher. The ladies were cleaning windows when I got there.

I had a lot of help unpacking the van and it took next to no time at all. Three young boys (around 6th grade) showed up to stack wood for the fireplaces. Everyone has been so friendly, nice and gracious!

I really missed the friendliness, niceness and graciousness. This is feeling more and more like the right place at the right time!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Home Again

Home from Annual Conference.

Our Bishop rocks! What a difference he has made in our Annual Conference with his "Lighten Up, Loosen Up and Have a Little Fun!" attitude! Our morale - both clergy and laity - was at a rock bottom low when he was appointed our bishop. Now, I look forward to attending AC because it is so upbeat and gracious, so Spirit-led and Spirit-filled! I really do get recharged when I go!

Rev. Grace Imathiu was our Bible Study leader. She spoke on the "Should-be Untitled Parable" (Parable of the Prodigal) and the Raising of Lazarus. Her name reflects her teaching and her joy and bubbly personality filled the room (She is a graduate of my alma mater West Virginia Wesleyan College).

Iowa Conference's Bishop Gregory Palmer was our keynote preacher. He wasn't present so much at the AC, since his Conference has been struck by flooding and he was on the phone and on-line directing things back home. Our AC sprang into action when we heard the news. We took up a spontaneous offering and had work teams formed by the time he left, ready to go to Iowa on his notice. Our Bishop called it "The Second Flood - a Flood of Love."

While making our annual pilgrimage to the Cokesbury display, my eyes happened upon a wonderful preaching robe. The alb I purchased over 20 years ago doesn't fit anymore and my black preaching robe - purchased at the same time - is getting threadworn and tatty. Several Christmas' ago, Hubby gift-wrapped an Abbott Hall catalogue and told me to select a new robe. I looked through it, but never got around to measuring myself and ordering it.

But there it was at the Cokesbury exhibit, hanging on the rack! 30% off! And it fit me perfectly! And here it is. That's not me modeling it, but that's my robe!

In spite of having to power-pack this week, I decided to let God fill my heart and soul and while at AC, NOT WORRY about the 'stuff' awaiting me back at home. I had a blast reconnecting and visiting with friends and colleagues alike!

It has been so long, so very, very long, since I've had this kind and this much joy in my heart! It feels so wonderful!

Even power-packing isn't looking so daunting now!

Blessings! One week to go before moving ...

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Off to Annual Conference. Be back Sunday.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Going Away Party

CINS held a Going Away & Pot-Luck Luncheon after worship for me on Sunday. It was weird and more than a little disconcerting. There were no chairs left, so I sat on the stairs and ate my plate of food. After the food was eaten and the obligatory cake was served, the Church Council Chair announced a "roast." No one said anything for a long, long time until PPRC Chair said she would remember our "kitchen table chats, where we usually ended up crying."


Someone else spoke up and remembered our first Women of Faith trip together. They threw ice at me and dumped a full container of ice cubes in my bed. (Guess who had the choice of either sleeping on the floor or in a cold, wet bed because no one else offered theirs in exchange?) And she thanked me for being "a good sport."

Oh - and my gifts: Two balloons and a $25 gift card to the Olive Garden. (At least my friend, Liv, got a $50 gas card from her two congregations!)

After the dinner, as I was preparing to leave church, I had a couple come up to me and told me they would be seeing me at the new church. And I had one of my mentally-ill friends ask if she could attend the new church. Another person asked me to officiate at her funeral because I "totally get it."

Earlier in the day, I had someone remark about my hand-made, prequilted purse and asked if I would make her and her three grand-daughters each one before I left. Huh what?

I've also had a run on baptism requests before I leave. One lady even went so far as to ask if we could sing some familiar hymns on that particular Sunday because most of the family is unchurched and she doesn't want them to feel uncomfortable. (Umm, if they're unchurched, then they probably don't know the hymns anyway?)

What a strange church! I'm kinda of glad I didn't have high expectations of Sunday. If anything I've learned to just let it go.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

That God! What a Kidder!

Hubby, D2 and I went to his Other Church's Reversed Progressive Dinner last night. I warned them all that it had not better be a cry-fest!

The night was so much fun! We started at the church for dessert; went to a house for grilled steak (Mmmmmm!); went to another house for homemade Mac-n-Cheese; to yet another house for salad and bread; and ended back at the church for hors d' oeuvres.

I "won" a ceramic white elephant for best delivery of a joke. Actually, it was a reminder of the annual White Elephant Party Other Church holds. That's one of my favorite functions to attend as 'The Pastor's Wife.' What a wonderful way to remember them! Now, I gotta pack it and move it.

The folks gifted Hubby with stuff he will need for his new boat. What a surprise! What a bunch of dear, dear folks! He got life jackets, life preserver seats, oars, a marine battery, oil, a fishing pole big enough to catch a whale and other gew-gaws he needed to make it lake worthy.
They surprised me with a sizable gift certificate to the Nearby City Mall because D2 had told them I wanted to buy a "nice suit," but with all of the other expenses, I had not been able (My suits are at least 15 years old). All I want is a nice, fashionable, versatile suit for funerals, special preaching occasions, etc. Now, I can get one!
We cried, but it wasn't a cry-fest. I am going to miss these people. They are good folk.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Keep Breathing


Hubby had a Mid-Life Crisis a couple of weeks ago. The last time he went through one of these episodes was five years ago. He bought a Camaro.

This time he bought a boat. For fishing. It's only a 14 footer and he got it for a song; however, it's the stuff that DIDN'T come with it that's driving me crazy.

He figured out that he can't put a hitch on his high performance Stratus, nor would the Camaro look "cool" pulling a boat. Nope. It's my van that needs to have the trailer hitch and wiring installed. After all, you can put a lot of fishing poles, ice chests, life vests, lights, fish finders, et al and people in my mini van, so they go fishing with him.

That takes the van out of commission next week.

There is are reasons I chose the van when we were car shopping. I don't like to drive the Stratus or the Camaro - they're both five-speed sticks. I KNOW how to drive a stick (My first car was a VW bug!) but I prefer not to drive one. Also, I have a problem seeing over (or through) the steering wheels because they are both high performance cars that sit low to the ground. In the van, I'm up high and I can see perfectly fine over the wheel.

And then there is the hauling factor. We're moving. I have an office to totally pack up and move next week. And there is Annual Conference. Who bothered to check my schedule while having a Mid-Life Crisis?

I told him when he bought the Stratus that he wasn't using my van to haul his hunting beagles in. Maybe I should have made up a contract that not only included hunting but fishing too.

Damn. I wish I would have thought ahead.

Back to packing.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Can't I Just Leave???

We are moving in less than three weeks. Next week is Annual Conference and I will lose four days. I promised the new pastor I would have my church office packed up and out so it can be thoroughly cleaned for their arrival. Lots and lots to do. Hubby isn't helping pack. I think he's still in denial.

All of a sudden, it seems everyone wants to invite me to lunch or dinner. In the four years I've been at CINS, I can count on one hand the number of times I've been asked to eat with parishoners. Why now?

I hate this part of the closure process. Not only do I feel overwhelmed by the amount of labor and switching things over in moving, but now I feel obligated to accept all these dinner invitation so THEY can have a sense of closure.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Daughter of a Different Mother

She came into our family about 12 years ago, introduced by one of Son's best friends, Drew. She was Drew's girlfriend and since Drew hung out at our house, he figured she could too.

As teenage boys are usually clueless and stupid, Drew and Son would vacate the premises for a game of basketball and golf. She would end up in the family room with D2 and I, watching sappy chic flicks, chatting and eating popcorn.

In spite of her dredlocks, piercings and punk rocker clothes, She fit into our family well. We grew to love her and whenever She was in town, She was at our house.

And as teenage boys are wont to do, Drew broke her heart. Drew has always been a playah and he cheated on her. But, our relationship with her did not change because she was a Daughter-and-Sister-of-the-Heart. D2 and I got her through the heartbreak. And we got her through her parents' divorce. She got over Drew, graduated from high school and went on to graduate from college, always keeping in touch.

Saturday, D2 and I had a bet going. She said "traditional." I said, "Non-traditional."

She walked down the church's central aisle, dressed in a beautiful white gown with her dreds combed up into a tiara, to meet her heart's love to "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" by the Smashing Pumpkins tastefully played on the piano. She and Heart's Love lit the Unity Candle to the praise song "You are Holy." She, Heart's Love and the rest of their wedding party recessed to "Trumpets Voluntary."

Their wedding party included HER Best Man (her brother); Heart's Love Matron of Honor (his sister); his Groomsman (her other brother) and his Groomsmaids. She had bridesmaids to round out the courtege.

The colors were aqua, green and black.

D2 and I sat with her pastor and his wife. She is a vital part of their church family and she works as an Occupational Therapist at their school. They said they know a gem when they meet one.

What can I say? I cried and D2 beamed.

Congratulations Heart's Love and FivefoottwoPunk! We love you!

Your Other Mother