Friday, July 15, 2011

My Name Spells Gratitude- The RevGals Friday Five

A wise person once told me to make an ABC list of things I am grateful for any time I feel sad or depressed. It is a good practice when one is feeling happier than that, too. So for this Friday Five, I suggest that you use your name or nickname of about five letters and express your gratitude about something that starts with each letter. Some people have longer names, so you decide how you will go about this! (Last names, middle names, and nicknames count!)

C is for Children. We have two beautiful and talented Lutheran Chicks. Our older daughter has flown the nest somewhat in that she has gone off to college. She will be a sophomore in the fall, majoring in Social Work and making beautiful music. Our younger daughter is away serving each week at a Lutheran summer camp and will be a high school senior so we're in the throes of College hunting. College could have been the C.

A is for Anticipation. I am eagerly anticipating a first call parish, and before that the next few weeks of preaching, meeting and greeting that God willing will culminate in beginning a new journey in ministry together. :)

R is for Relationships. My Beloved spouse of almost 22 yrs, my family, my seminary friends, my hospital buds, my Zumba and weightlifting homies, all of the people from my Seminary formation, the campground I served, Toby-our lovable family canine.. the list goes on- I am blessed with relationships.

O is for Outdoors. I love to be in my back yard, with the birds, the trees, the gardens, my new patio space, watching all of the activity in creation.

L is for Lounging. I have gotten to do a fair amount of it, living in the inbetween after Seminary. Amidst the angst, I have also gotten to do more reading, puttering and contemplating things I usually let blow right by. When I am up to my eyeballs in busy, I hope will remember the season of lounging fondly.

Y is for Y Not? I am grateful for the gift of curiosity and sense of adventure that God has given me-it has taken me to a lot of people,places and events I would never have experienced if I was adverse.

N is for Noshing. Dinner with family, trying new recipes or restaurants. Impromptu get togethers. Creating fun things with the amazing seasonal produce. N is also for "Num, Num!" What our daughters used to say when they were little and ate something tasty.

Friday, July 8, 2011

R.I.P "Busy Bird"

As a followup to yesterday's post, I decided to go out and finally attempt to capture a picture of our favorite bird, which we've nicknamed "Busy Bird." Much to my sadness, however, I heard some bird activity and a cardinal swooping in for a reconnaissance mission by our patio steps. He then quickly left as I came around the bend. I noticed an army of ants heading up the steps and then I suddenly got it- there was a dead bird. Earlier in the morning I had heard a thwock against the picture window- it's somewhat common for clumsy bumblebees and occasional birds to bounce off of the glass. But unfortunately, the bird in question did not survive the error in flight path. That bird appears to be our yard sentry, "Busy Bird."

BB reminds me of a type of lovable and simultaneously irritating personality often seen in parishes. Self appointed, he would make the rounds on a quality control inspection- was the bird feeder full and safely in place? Thanks to BB we realized when squirrels had knocked it down.
Was the birdbath full and clean? Every day, twice a day he perched on the arching perch above the water to survey and then bathe or chirp if things were unsatisfactory.
Was there a clog in the gutter? On our screened porch one section of gutter was notorious for getting the peeling bark of the sycamore, the burrs of a linden and other detritus in it, which would congeal after a rain. We used to be able to sit on our screen porch and hear the slapping sound as BB would trawl through the gutter for bugs or perhaps nesting items, but in prime efficiency mode, fling out all obstacles to this quest onto the ground.
It took us a while to realize why there was always one place on the driveway with a pile of tree matter. But we always knew when there was a clog.
BB was almost possessed about defending turf. He was known to prance along behind my husband when he was mowing and I could never really tell if he was pointing out shoddy work or just peeved at the intrusion into HIS yard.
And when the trees were cut down and the patio garden created, he regularly followed me curtly tutting about my presence in HIS space, regularly preening the area and occasionally staking out an outpost for surveillance on the top of a tomato stake.
He also engaged in the radical practice of chasing away large birds like starlings who were menacing the smaller birds at the feeder and was once seen chastising a squirrel who finally gave up rather than deal with the onslaught.
But I have no picture of this dark gray and black bird who was hardly the showboat of the field but whose quirky yet loving presence made the yard remarkable.
RIP, feathered friend.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Small Wonders

My good friend from LTSG has resurrected her blog as RevHarmonica which you can check out HERE. And it inspired me to try to get back to posting. So what have I been doing with my time?

Well, I graduated from Seminary in May and frankly full well expected to have their profile in hand before graduation. But then it took just a little longer (though the Bishop's Office has been amazing!). Then I thought that almost immediately after that I'd be interviewing with the Charming City Parish Not So Far Away. But it took a little longer. But it was a truly Spirit led meeting and I left with lots of positive inclinations for myself and from them. Next stop neutral site preaching! But then, that took more than a little while to find a date and a place, it being summer and people having schedules, etc.

So I found myself now looking at more than eight weeks after graduation just to get to preaching which is next Sunday. But I will be preaching in a familiar place which is good because for a clumsy person like me, learning the furniture is a challenge and just to make it more interesting I am getting trifocals tomorrow. (For this I blame Hebrew but it was worth it!)

Meanwhile, it may be as much as another six weeks til I might have met with their council and preached a call sermon. The good news is that under it all it sounds positive. The hard part is finding myself actually doing less in a church than I have ever done in my adult life while I am trapped between a home synod that will not be my home synod and a new synod that is not really yet my synod.
And no real job of any kind because I thought this was moving and I said no to hours I could have been working.

And we sadly said goodbye to two 80 year old trees so I found myself saying goodbye to old friends and faced with a whole new landscape that a year from now I may not be living in.
So what to do in all this in-betweeness?
Rejoice in small wonders. Literally.

I've been getting to do more reading and have been thoroughly enjoying the series of essays by Barbara Kingsolver called "Small Wonders." She is an exquisite detail writer who can make even the wing of a small insect something to marvel over. I have been able to follow more closely all of our bird friends, and our resident groundhog and rabbits, and recently aid six tiny bats make it outside. Not to mention all of the time for rubbing Toby's belly which he greatly desires.

And I have been puttering in a new container garden patio and rejoice that my pepper and tomatoes are bearing promise. Taking the time to stop at that roadside produce stand and get the most exquisite raspberries ever. (Sorry no pictures- they have been eaten).

Testing out new recipes-maybe more on that later.

Zumba-ing which is an excuse to shake what the good Lord gave me and get away with it and weightlifting in case benchpressing to resolve a council meeting might be
needed (not really).

Cleaning out the attic and basement because the day of moving really will come.

And being more intentional about my time with friends, new and old. Tomorrow I hope to visit a gentleman from my internship parish who will be 96 on Saturday who has been a faithful friend and theological sparring partner.

I've been watching our Lutheran Chicks in their jobs- LC#1 is working locally and LC#2 is working at a Lutheran camp with RevHarmonica's Lutheran Chick.

And getting back to using the Divine Hours which is an amazing way to keep a day in focus. After all, if Jesus could take time apart to pray, surely I can? It often seems to be just the right passages and prayers.

And I have refused to grouse too much when every invite to Party on the Patio has been rained out- the porch worked out great for wine drinking.

All things that I have said I would do "If only I had more time." I have the gift of time and to truly tarry and wait for the Lord. Maybe it will help me remember to tarry when I feel like I can't and to see all of the small wonders I miss when I feel like I have to quickly do the big flyover.

It isn't always easy to wonder about time and inertia, or to refrain from envy as most of my class is now called and/or ordained. But I have a much keener sense of what it means to eagerly rejoice in all things with my friends and await where the Spirit is blowing for me while I capture glimpses of small wonders.