Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Five-Halloween

Songbird at over at RevGals posted this Friday Five, so here goes...
1. How did you celebrate this time of year when you were a child?
I did the typical 1960's trick or treat in the neighborhood in our small town in Indiana. One year there was the razor blade in apple scare which I really could not understand since we knew everyone in all of the houses. There was also a Halloween dress up party at school and one year a mom made these iced Pumpkin cookies on sticks. And it is not Halloween without the Peanuts show about the Great Pumpkin.
2. Do you and/or your family “celebrate” Halloween? Why or why not? And if you do, has it changed from what you used to do?
Our girls, the Lutheran Chicks, are now in their teens. Before this, they would get dressed up and we would take them around to the few houses in our part of town that gave out candy, and then we would drive over to the large development where their best friends lived to join the swarm of trick or treaters there. We only carve our pumpkins the day of Halloween, at dinner time and then the fun begins. We have a bat and a spider and a raven that we hang at the front door. The girls now dress up to hand out candy at our place. But we are not the people for whom Halloween decorations have become like Christmas, up for a month. With one exception each, I have always made the kids' costumes. Here is a list of some of the things they have been: a turtle, a witch, Scarlett O'Hara, Pocahontas, the Little Mermaid, Minnie Mouse, a princess, a witch, a Japanese lady, a clown, a vampiress, a cat. We like to go to the thrift shop to get pieces we can use. One year we found great sheer fabric that was orange with black glitter spider webs that made a great skirt.

2. Candy apples: Do you prefer red cinnamon or caramel covered? Or something else?
Caramel with nuts
3. Pumpkins: Do you make Jack O’ Lanterns? Any ideas of what else to do with them?
We make jack-o-lanterns and roast the seeds. I have several different seed recipes
4. Do you decorate your home for fall or Halloween? If so, what do you do? Bonus points for pictures.
Sorry no pics. We have the things I mentioned above, and usually some Indian corn. I also have a wooden painted pumpkin that is a jack o lantern on one side and plain on the other. Fall also means big pots of mums which then get planted somewhere else on the property.
5. Do you like pretending to be something different? Does a costume bring our an alternate personality? Dressing up can be a great outlet for creativity and a chance to explore.

Bonus: Share your favorite recipe for an autumn food, particularly apple or pumpkin ones.
Pumpkin Seed variations:
2c pumpkin seeds
2c sunflower seeds ( shelled)
2c dry roasted peanuts
1c raw almonds
1c raw cashews
2 T canola oil
1 packet dry ranch dresing mix
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350. Mix and toss well all ingredients in a large bowl.
Put mix into shallow roasting pan and roast 45-60 minutes
stir occasionally.
Yields 16 servings

Asian Seeds

2c pumpkin seeds
2T soy sauce
1/2 powdered ginger
2tsp Splenda

Preheat oven to 350 and use same process as above for about 45 minutes.


Monday, October 22, 2007


As most of us know, the Gospel text for yesterday was about the unjust judge and the persistent widow. This post is about the living example of the persistent one in my teaching parish. There is a man who is not a member of the parish. Over the years he has been a contractor of sorts, and has done some odd jobs-type work at the parish because he knows one the members pretty well. On Thursday, I was meeting with my supervising pastor and we see this man enter the building. He is looking for the pastor, and she greets him, not recalling who he is at first- it has been a couple of years since she has seen him. He has labored breathing, and he is almost totally deaf, so their conversation is more than a little challenging.
He relates that he used to come to the parish for worship but his health makes it hard for him to attend our only service on Sunday which is at 9 am. Mornings are a struggle for him. He really wants to receive communion. He is a baptized Christian.
She tells him she does not administer communion outside of the service usually but if he can come to next Tuesday's morning prayer which is at 10 she will give him communion then. She tells him she is in the middle of a meeting now. I feel bad- there must be more to the story, but we do not hear it that day because the meeting has ended.
On Sunday, our parish has a 9 am service, followed by fellowship and Sunday school. It is now about 11:30 a.m. All of the lights are out, all of the communion ware put away. We are getting ready to leave- I have a lunch meeting with a Council member. And here is the man again.
Still laboring to breathe. He seems a little stressed out. He tried to make it to church but his lung "locked up" - is he too late for communion? I pause, wondering what will happen next- I say a prayer in my heart.
The pastor tells him to go have a seat in the sanctuary and sends her husband to turn on the lights. She decides we will commune him. We get out the elements. She consults on what aspects of the service we will say- the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and Great Thanksgiving and Words of Institution. We go into the sanctuary where he is sitting in the front pew in prayer.
I light all of the candles. We sit with him in the pew and look at him to recite the service so he can read lips and see where we are, following along in a service bulletin that I marked up so he would know.
We administer communion and we "send" him.
Then she asks him how he is doing. He is going in for surgery to remove his thyroid- it has nodules but they are not sure if they are cancerous or not. There are risks- he could suffer vocal chord damage. And he only has one lung.
Then we hear about the car accident 27 years ago where he lost a lung, his spleen and needed a new aorta. The vocal chords on one side were paralyzed. This is why he has a raspy voice. The thyroid is on the other side- he could be mute after surgery.
And he only has the other lung- after years of construction work, it is not fully functional from all of the dust people inhaled before we knew what we do today about occupational safety.
And there is the hearing issue. After the accident, and after the surgery, while he was still in the hospital, he got an infection. Because of his injuries he had three different doctors- they each prescribed antibiotics to battle the infection- he was triple dosed. The side effect of the toxicity was that he lost his hearing but he is glad the kidney failure was not permanent.
And he has the most wonderful vocabulary and manner about him, between gasps. He recounts growing up on the church and asks some questions, and it is clear that he was bright enough to have been many other things, but here in this rural community, he worked with his hands. And in spite of all of his adversity, he is still happily married and hopeful.
Earlier cochlear implants were not ideal and now he has been almost totally deaf for so long he has "accepted it." He is not angry anymore. He jokes that the secret to his marriage is that he cannot hear his wife.
But the surgery that should be 2 hours long for the thyroid is scheduled for 5 hours. But he must have the surgery. And being in church is a comfort and tears come when he is communed. And he had gotten up early that day and rejoiced that maybe, just maybe he would make it to church at 9 but his lung "locked up." He makes no permanent plans because he just never knows.
Persistence. "Hear me."
And how much more will God do than we?
And when he returns will he find faith?


Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Flick- Come Lord Jesus Come

I have survived the midterm wave once I finish a paper today. But I know that alot of my friends and buddies at LTSG have a lot on their minds and hearts. Family and personal health issues. The missing of loved ones. Needing self care. Stressed about lots of things- maybe feeling inadequate, lost or just plain frazzled. Trying to make ends meet. Living in the tensions.
I am writing a paper on the book entitled Finally Comes The Poet, by Walter Brueggeman. Here are some thoughts:

Quoting Walt Whitman-
"After the great captains and engineers have accomplished their work,
After the noble inventors, after the scientists, the chemist, the geologist, ethnologist,
Finally shall come the poet worthy of that name,
The true Son of God singing his songs."

Brueggeman writes:
"After all such control through knowledge, finally comes the poet.. ( and) prevents our reduced world from becoming brutal and coldly closed in on us."
" Is there a word there ( in the Scripture text) that can rescue me from my exhausted coping?"
This is the task of the preacher.

"The congregation departs. Same old quarrels in the car on the way home. Same old tensions at dinner. Same tired beginning on Monday. Now, however, there is disclosed a new word, a new hope, a new verb, a new conversation, a new risk, a new possibility. It is not a new truth, but rather one long known that had been greatly reduced.
The Author of the text laughs in delight, the way the Author laughed only at creation and at Easter, but laughs again when the sermon carries the day against the prose of the Dark Prince who wants no poetry in the region he thinks he governs."
"The newly proclaimed territory becomes a new home of freedom, justice, peace and abiding joy."

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's About Love

This is the week of the my big fat Greek test, ( bad humor I know). I also have a take home test for Early Church and Creeds, and my CPE application is due. And I know that mountains figure extensively in the Old Testament but could the mountain of reading be a little less lofty? Just asking...And a book review for Homiletics
(might be nice if I read the book soon). And our hometown football team is undefeated for the first time in 50 years- GO BEARS! We are division leaders, which means many more band chaperone events for Mom. LC#1 is bringing home the real to life baby that cries and needs cared for ( this is a child development class project not a living addition to the household), and we are continuing to tutor the Spanish for LC#2. We are helping our spare teen get caught up in confirmation and will be preparing for her baptism. And I need to put together and get approved my multicultural project for J-term. David mentioned a "spin cycle" - I think "cyclone" may be it.

Gannet Girl posted an article where the author suggests that God tests us and uses testing to mold us. I am not so sure that God purposely tests us, but I am sure that a life fully lived does. I am at seminary, and all that that means because of my decision to listen to God calling. I opted to commute ( thus adding another "thing" to the mix). We could have ignored our spare teen's plight ( after all plenty of other people do- she was with our family from 7:50 am to 8:30 pm yesterday and her mom never called). I could be like many other parents and just watch the football game and let "someone" else worry about the kids in the band. I could push off the multicultural requirement until "later." I could decide that instead of worrying about grades, I could sing "P is for Pastor, that's good enough for me" ( this is to the tune of "C is for Cookie" from Sesame Street for those who know).

SO when I am in the cyclone, I can see that alot of my experience is because of my own decisions. But I can also see that God is there, uplifting me, giving me strength and patience, and loving me even when I do not do so well- whether that is after I tried to do well or whether I was just lazy.

And I could choose to walk away from almost any of these things that I am trying to keep simultaneously spinning. So what keeps me spinning anyway? Love.

This past week, as I have briefly alluded, was not the greatest. And this was mainly true in spite of my own efforts. When my supervising pastor responded in anger and frustration to news that I am not to be expected in my teaching parish weekly, she was frustrated because planning has already occurred that might need to be revisited. She probably really wanted to be angry at the professors. But I was the one who was there.

So I waited a couple of days and then followed up to tell her that I was not asking to change any of what we had planned, that I was looking forward to it, so let's keep doing what we planned. Encouraged her that all could be as we had discussed. I had already said this before, but in her frustration, she had just not heard it. We got through it. It is love for God's people and God's church that makes me come back and try again.

It's about love for my teaching parish congregation too. Singing with the four older ladies, although there is a possibility of a guy or two. And talking about low sodium diets, who is having tests run, and whether anyone has tried the new Grange cookbook out.

It is love for my children that makes me fit in more than might seem possible. It is love for my family that makes me commute everyday even when just staying over might be easier if the equation was only about me.

It is love for the stranger, the left behind, the cast aside that has led our family to scoop up the spare teen who is making a stronger statement of faith than any of us by standing in spite of parents who will not be coming to her baptism, but it's OK for her to get baptised "is that's what she wants."

But no matter how much love I, or anyone else can have, we can never match the unending love of our God. No matter how articulate we are, we can only offer a glimpse of the love that compels us to minister to those in our midst through word, deed and sacrament. We can only scratch the surface of seeing the grace, mercy and forgiveness offered to us.

When people act in ways that are painful or challenging, I try to remember first to see Christ in that person. We are all equally beloved children of God, even though it may be hard to see in them or in ourselves. And the things we do in love will test and challenge us, but we will never be alone, because of the greatest love.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Random Thoughts

Some random thoughts about the week:
1. ALWAYS fully read the questions on the quiz so you do not get a comment like "why would anyone care about what you wrote on this paper?" OUCH
2.Sometimes the view from the seminary and the view from the parish are REALLY different. There is a restructuring of the teaching parish program which no longer requires seminarians to be in parish every week. This was not fully internalized by the pastors, nor fully embraced once implemented. You could bear the brunt of the frustration about the change.
3. Your children will still need you : to tutor them in Spanish the night before your test that you need to study for.

1. You will do something in your parish that makes someone smile, or think in a new way.
2. Your friends will tell you about their own mishaps and you will see that even when you feel like you are falling, you are still here and intact.
3. You will remember why you are here, and for me this meant that twice this week someone reached out in need and you were the one who could listen, commiserate and pray with them. For me this came in the form of two friends dealing with family members who committed suicide. One knew of my own family dealing with this. The other, says she has no idea what drew her to talk to me except we chaperone together on a band bus. And so it is, people with huge problems to face, just keep seeking me out.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What If I Stumble?

Well last week was a great week. This week...not so great. Lots to do, lots to think about and lots on the horizon staring me down. Not sure how much I will post about my week in school and my parish. Still processing. I am thankful for great friends and family who support me. Peace and blessings!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday Flick

From Jonathan Rundman from Minneapolis, who I learned from his website, helped contribute to the Lutheran Handbook. Coming to play at LTSG next month.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

My List of Fours ( Thanks Dogblogger)

Thanks to Dogblogger for tagging me with this meme.
4 jobs I've held:
-waitress in a Mexican restaurant
- cashier at a discount store
- owner of an ice cream shop
- lawyer

4 films I could watch over and over
-Pride and Prejudice ( with Colin Firth)
-4 Weddings and a Funeral
-When Harry Met Sally

4 TV Shows I watch
-Weather Channel
-Last of the Summer Wine on PBS

4 places I've lived
- Muncie, IN
-Bristol, TN
- Pittsburgh, PA
-Lancaster County, PA

4 favorite foods
-Buffalo wings
-anything Mexican

4 websites I visit every day
everyone on my blog roll
Sacred Space

4 favorite colors
- purple
- turquoise
- leaf green
- black

4 Places I would love to be right now
- Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
- Nova Scotia
- the mountains of NC
- anywhere with my family without interruptions

4 names I love but would/could not use for children
( because I am not having any more)
-Pierce ( ouch)
- any name that kind of sounds funny like A. Tom Baum ( a real person)

And I tag some non-revgals, Prepare Ye, Here I Stand, and revgals, Faith in Community and Gannet Girl

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Happy Birthday - The Beatles

Hey- it's miy birthday!! At 44 I am old enough to legally be the mom of much of my class here at LTSG but -- I am not. Enjoy this blast from the past from a blast from the past