Monday, July 28, 2008

What Is It?

For the last several days I have been overcome with this irrational fear and anxiety - to the point where I am withdrawing and avoiding everything and everyone. I can't go upstairs to bed in the evening because I am afraid "something" will happen while I'm asleep. I go downstairs on the couch and I doze off and on because I am afraid to close my eyes.

I have this feeling of impending doom. Like something bad and universe-wrecking is immenient.

No amount of self-talk, rationalization, relaxation and diversional activities are helping!

This is stupid! I am a functioning, relatively normal and healthy human being. There have been no "triggers" to start this behavior. I love my husband. I love my new church family. I love life. Everything - for the most part - is going well.

What is going on?

It has all the hallmarks of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Did CINS have a greater impact on my psyche than I thought?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Where Will My Help Come From?

Unbloggable stuff happening. Feeling anxious and panicky.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Musings

This weekend was Celebrate Small Town Days. On Friday and Saturday, Small Town was One.Big.Yard.Sale. It made giggle to think that everyone was just swapping "stuff" - one family to another. And our Amish neighbors were out in force!

Yesterday's festivities included a car show, Chili Cook-off and the Volunteer Fire Department's Chicken BBQ. Everything came to an abrupt end when a serious thunderstorm swept through about 1:30 pm.

It was a social event! I couldn't believe how many folks were out and about. Even worship was full!

I've had so many folks say that they're glad I'm here. One of my pastoral colleagues told me last week, "Your folks are quite smitten with you!" I'm quite smitten with them. I LOVE Small Town life!

Two of Hubby churches held a joint Welcome Picnic for him yesterday. They are as neat as Sassy Nance and MA said they would be! Hubby and I had a blast and the folks made us feel right at home.

Hubby is a basketball referee and one of his new parishioners is a fellow co-officiant. She gets a lot of grief from the majority of the male refs (MCPs). Hubby has always been sensitive to her feelings and he's always treated her professionally and compassionately. What a surprise it was to find her and her family as very active church family folks!!!! Her husband is an EMT for another Volunteer Fire Department and he and I had a good time sharing war stories.

My Hubby is amazing! He always treats folks with dignity and respect, because as he says, "It's doesn't cost you any more to be nice." And in the small world we seem to live in, it pays off!

I'm loving Small Town life!

Monday, July 14, 2008

On a Mission From God

Yesterday morning, a young couple came to worship with the good folks at CATC. Although they weren't here last Sunday, they are regular attenders. He is an unemployed elementary school teacher, totally seeing impaired with a service dog. His wife is a homemaker (for now) and they have a two-week old baby girl. They're not from around these parts. They want their daughter baptized.

At Vespers last night, one of my new parishioners asked if I had met this young couple. I affirmed I had and asked her to tell me their story.

Long story short, they're moving from a one-room apartment to a mobile home in desperate need of repair. When Loving Parishioner went to visit them after church, she discovered that all they had was one chair in the trailer, no major appliances, and the mobile home is in bad shape. She proposed that I make a "visit" (to talk about the baptism), feel them out and see what the church family can do for them. She said that the good folks at CATC will help renovate the mobile home into a habitable place - with the funds coming from the church; procure major appliances and furniture for them - again from the church and in general, show this young couple they are loved and valued in their church family. Loving Parishioner stressed that she doesn't want them to feel bad about accepting our help. And she's planning a Baby Shower/Housewarming Party for them.

My mission: To see what they need and what the church can do for them without making them feel obligated and intruded upon.

What a change from the last four years! Did I mention that I think I like it here?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It's A Dog's Life

Last night's EMS Continuing Ed seminar was one on EMS & working with Rescue Dogs.

We were treated to a wonderful lecture explaining the history, mechanics, joys and heartaches of training and handling these cool workin' dogs.

Afterwards, some of us got to be found and rescued by them.

Oh - I got to meet some of my new parishioners, too. What is it about Methodists and EMS???????? The service region is our parish??????

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hee Hee! I Can Talk My Way Out of a Paper Bag!

Our Conference is getting really fussy about clergy doing their CEUs (Continuing Ed Units). We're supposed to be doing 6 CEUs per year. The DS has the final say on what constitutes a CEU and for how much credit.

I managed to plead my case with my CPR Healthcare Provider Certification Class. Since AED certification is part of it AND since CATC has a defibrillation device, I can claim it as a CEU! After all, a parishioner may need the 'paddles' applied to them some Sunday during worship.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Like Riding a Bicycle

I started the EMT recertification process today by attending a CPR for Healthcare Providers. I have to tell you, I was feeling really intimidated because it's been two years since I've had to remember these skills.

I was a volunteer EMT for 11 years in another Small Town about 33 miles from here. This Small Town doesn't have a paid service either - it relies on volunteers and these days EMS personnel in our part of the state are at a premium. I've always loved EMS and I did miss doing it in my last appointment.

I needn't have worried. It was riding a bicycle after not riding for years. It just came back and I performed automatically. I passed the written test with a 100% and earned a "good job" from the tester on the practical exam.

This weekend is a Trauma Training Weekend. I can get half of the Continuing Ed credits I need for recertifying. The rest I can take on line. Once I'm fully certified, I can join Small Town's Ambulance Service.

And that makes me very happy! You can get to know a lot of folks in the back of ambulance - and it's a good evangelism tool. The downside? If the patient dies and is unchurched, the funeral director usually calls you because "you had a 'relationship' with the deceased (doing CPR).

I like it here!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


First PPRC meeting tonight since moving in. Whoa! These folks have a lot to say because they haven't been allowed to express themselves in a very long time!

They want so badly to do ministry. They want to be the church. They want to be a Body of Christ to the Small Town community. They have a heart for evangelism and people belonging to a community of faith that accepts them! They want to be trained as leaders!

What a difference between Church-Around-the-Corner and the Church-I-Used-To-Serve!

There's a lot to do here!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday Thoughts

My first Sunday went well at CATC. The servcie and sermon was well-recieved (I thought) and folks were warm and welcoming. In so many ways, it feels like "home." I love small town life and ministry and I think (and pray and hope!) this will be a good fit.

I am not so idealistic to see there are some issues here. The LayLeader berated the Church Treasurer over his style of reporting the bimonthly Financial Sheet last week after the Council Meeting. I'm not sure exactly what the LL was looking for, but even to my inexpert eye, I understood the report and just how much money is in endowments, designated funds and the general fund ... assests and expenditures. The LL was adamant that if the church was audited, it wouldn't pass muster. He wasn't very nice.

I listened for a few minutes and decided that this wasn't a ditch I needed to die in - at least not this early in my tenure - so I went to my office. After the confrontation was over, the Treasurer came in and we talked for a while. It sounds like a control issue on the part of the LL to me.

Before worship Sunday morning, I visited each of the Sunday School classes. The LL was sitting in a room by himself. He said he was trying to start a Young Adult Class and this was the "Serendipity Class." He couldn't understand why the church's young adults weren't coming; he had invited them and had the Serendipity material (leftover from the 70s & 80s) with which to teach the class.
It was soon apparent (to me) why they weren't beating down the door. Sigh.

Then he started on the Financial Report/Treasurer issue again. I listened for a few minutes, thanked him for expressing his concerns and excused myself.
It IS a control issue.

And I have had my first gender issue. Surprisingly, it's coming from a retired pastor (former EUB) affiliated with the church. It seems he's not going "to sit under the teaching of a woman." So sad.

Anyway, I'm still glad to be here!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Vignettes from a Small Town - Part 2

My husband is a beagler. He has two beagles - seven-year-old Lady and her three-year-old 'puppy,' Joey.

We chose my parsonage over Hubby's because this one has a bigger, fenced-in area.

Beagles bark. That's a fact of life. I truly and earnestly believe that God gives beagles a requisite allotment of barks that they need to use up each day. Hubby's dogs are purebred beagles. They bark at everything and at nothing.

Last Sunday (my last day at CINS), Church-Around-the-Corner decided to have an outdoor hymn sing in their pavillion. Amazingly, the beagles were quiet all
throughout the service - until the last hymn.

As my new congregation started the last hymn, Lady and Joey added their voices (aw-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh) to the paean of praise. I was told the congregation stopped singing, listened, laughed and allowed the beaglesong to fill the morning skies while the accompanist carried on.

No one was upset. Folks have since told me that we've trained them right as Preacher's Dogs. They were just adding their praise to the Divine for a good move, a great location and people who love huntin' dogs.

Hubby already has gotten numerous invitations to go rabbit and pheasant hunting with Small Town folks.

I think I'm gonna like it here!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Vignettes from a Small Town - Part 1

My van's inspection was up at the end of June. After moving on Thursday, I called the local gas station and asked for an appointment to bring it in. "Tomorrow will be fine," I was told. "What time would you like me to drop it off?" I asked. "Oh, any time will be good!" was the reply.

I drove the van the half-block to the station about 10:30 Friday morning. I introduced myself and handed the young man behind the counter the necessary paperwork: current insurance and registration information. He thanked me and I turned to go.

"Ma'am. Ma'am!"

I turned around expectantly.

"I'm really sorry, but I need your registration to have your current Small Town address on it. Normally, it wouldn't be a problem, but because your registration says you're from Emission-Test-Also County, I won't be able do it because we don't do them here."

"I just moved in yesterday!" I wailed. "The inspection is up Monday and I need my van!"

He took off his NAPA Auto Parts cap and scratched his head thoughtfully. Then his eyes lit up. "Please come with me, Ma'am!" he said.

I followed him out of the door, around the side of the gas station and into an open door.

"Kristy, this is Pastor Net from the Church-Around-the-Corner. She just moved in yesterday. Her van needs inspected and I need a registration with her new address to inspect it."

Kristy (who is a Notary Public for Small Town) smiled and said, "C'mon in and let's get you fixed up, honey." She hit a few keys on her computer, asked me for my driver's license number and new address. She pressed the Print button and two sheets spit out of the printer. She handed me the new temporary registration form to sign and then gave it to the young man. He grinned, took the paper and said to me, "You can pick your van up between lunch and one."

Kristy gave me the new temporary driver's license form and told me to tell Hubby to stop in and she'd change his and any other vehicles we needed changed.

"Thank you very much!" I told her. "How much do I owe you?"

"Aw, nothing, honey! Welcome to Small Town. I hope you love here as much as I do."

As I walked the half-block home to the parsonage, I was thinking, "I already do."