Archive | October, 2011

what’s wrong –

21 Oct
with me?
I am so incredibly tired.  
Change of seasons? [maybe.]
Less sunlight? [yes.]
Sickness? [lonliness?]
Red wine? [probably.]
Stress and anxiety? [hmm.]
Laziness? [likely.]
Emotional drain of work? [yup.]
I went to bed by 10:30 last night and slept until 7:30.  [10:30 is early for me.  I used to go to bed at midnight and be up at 6:30 with no huge issue.]  Now it’s not even 10 tonight and I could crawl into bed and fall asleep.  [Part of that may be sermon procrastination too.]
So sleepy.  
Maybe I’m getting too much sleep?  Or, like Banana Kay, I can only get an odd number of hours of sleep to be rested?  Or perhaps it’s just me seeing Mabel sleeping all the time that makes me wish I was in my bed.  

a list of cliches.

20 Oct
Roll with the punches.
Go with the flow.
Things don’t always go as planned.
As a pastor, I tend to live these cliche phrases.
I had grand plans for today.  I had a Zumbro River conference meeting [a monthly meeting of pastors in the same geographical conference which includes worship, a program, and lunch] in Rochester.  Then I was going to go home to the office and write my sermon for Sunday along with a newspaper article, a November newsletter, and plan a care center service for Sunday.
I sit in a Starbucks just outside of the Methodist Hospital in Rochester.  With one visit of a parishioner behind me, now I wait for another parishioner to get out of surgery.  Ministry is not one that can be planned.
Sure, I can plan a Sunday in which the third graders will receive Bibles.  [Oh, hey, PL, you should get that on the calendar soon.]  I can plan Sunday morning worship and plan curriculum for the Sunday school kids.  But when it come to the day-to-day and to the activities that fill a given period of time in my work week, it’s all up for grabs.  Who knows what will happen.
Along with the cliches above, people will often say that ministry happens in those times that are not planned.  Ministry happens in the interruptions.  [I hate to say that visiting people in the hospital is an interruption.  It’s not in the negative sense but simply in the not-always-planned sense.]
That – in addition to simply poor planning on my part – is why I will once again spend my weekend writing my sermon and doing other work tasks.  One of these days, I will not work on my weekend.  One of these days.  [I told this to Marilyn.  She laughed at me.]
In other news, I still am not a fan of hospitals.  The Mayo system both scares and intimidates me.  Pretty sure I rode in a staff elevator earlier.  So confused.

[Oh.  And as a follow up to excuse me? I would also like to share with you that the mayor of Blooming is aware of my single state which seems to be some sort of disease here.  “Well, we’ll have to find her a man,” is what he told another.  Oh, Mr.Mayor.]


18 Oct
The day arrived – First Lutheran’s annual lutefisk dinner.  
I wore my white shirt, black pants, and donned my red apron before the noon-time rush.  I received instructions for how to set the tables, when to get the lutefisk from the kitchen, and where to find the lefse.  I helped a few tables and then it was time – a table of my own.
It was fun.  I poured water, carried bowls of corn, and wore this [“I’m the new gal, and I’ve never tasted lutefisk!”] paperclipped to my shirt, courtesy of Pastor Charlie [of First in Blooming – formerly of Salem in Montevideo] –

jD served the noon rush as well and Pastor Charlie made him a little label too, something to the tune of “I’m the new guy.  What does it taste like?”  Once we were done serving the lunch crew, the workers got to dine.  And this girl had to try lutefisk.  It was time to prove the paper on my shirt wrong. The white substance between the cranberry salad and the mashed potatoes.  This was my lunch time plate:

[suspense builds]  I went to the lutefisk supper tonight too.  A couple from ROG had invited me as their guest and when a congregation member invites me somewhere, I get excited and hate to turn it down.  And so I ate another meal in Blooming.
People asked me lots, “Well.  How was it?”
“I tried some at noon.  And didn’t have any more tonight.”

Enough said.

The texture was funky.  Not quite fish jello but not quite appetizing either.  I didn’t even eat the entire piece that you see in the photo, which is quite pathetic to the strong Lutherans who filled their plates – literally filled their plates – with the white questionable stuff.  
But I tried it.  Check that off the forced bucket list.

excuse me?

17 Oct
*clears throat*
It was an interesting morning of visits.  [And this was all after an hour of quilting and a stop at First Lutheran in Blooming to check out the lutefisk prep for the Cadillac of all church lutefisk dinners tomorrow.  I’ll be the one in the red apron.]  Allow me to share.
I visited a woman for the first time at a care center.  We had a delightful conversation and then I asked if she would like communion.  Oh yes, she said.  I did the words of institution, had prayer, and then together we said the Lord’s Prayer.  Except I heard a third voice.  The roommate began to pray along with us from the other side of the curtain.  I poked my head over, introduced myself, and asked if she would also like communion.  Oh yes, she said.  She’s Catholic but her children attend ROG and she doesn’t see the big deal about Catholic vs. Lutheran.  We’re all the same, she said.  It was fun – to meet another person, to hear a voice join us in prayer from behind the curtain, and chit chat with both women.
I visited an elderly gentleman for the first time too.  We also had delightful conversation except for the parts in which he insisted on being involved in my marital status.
Do you have children?
Are you married?
How old are you?
You should get married.
You’re running out of time.

Excuse me?  We were able to continue the conversation on another topic and stayed from the relationship status of the pastor until the end.
It was great to meet you.  Take care!
You too.  Now you go find yourself a man.
[insert fake laugh/effort to not cry]

Right.  Because I haven’t been trying up until now.

a fall festival.

17 Oct
About 25 Red Oak Grovers [I’m coining a new term.  Grovers is to be those of Red Oak Grove.  Not multiples of the blue dude from Sesame Street.] celebrated and dwelled in fall weather yesterday.  We began with a scavenger hunt for the kid grovers that included decorating a gourd pumpkin as they went.  From there, we hopped on hay wagon racks and traveled where Tom the Tractor Man [not his official title] drove us.  
We ended on Tom the Tractor Man’s property by the river where Tom the Tractor Man’s wife had attempted to build a fire.  It was no fire-starting disability of her own but terribly windy out today.  [I’m sensing a fall theme in SE MN.]  There was enough heat for s’mores to go along with our hot cocoa and cider and that’s all we needed.
It was a fun afternoon and a great chance for me to get to know a few more people on deeper levels.  The kids are great and I think the families are excited for more opportunities like this one.  But note to self: Be a better planner.  Invite other people to plan with me.  Don’t be forced to scramble last minute.  That was not cool, PL [Pastor Lindsay].  Not cool.

popular ms.mabel.

16 Oct
As Amanda, Joe, Kara and I headed to Decorah on Saturday, I had house guests both Friday and Saturday nights since my college amigos traveled in from Minneapolis and Sioux Falls.  
Let me rephrase.  I did not have house guests.  We had house guests, and oh did Mabel please.  
Joe said he would like to take Mabel home.  Even Kara said she liked my dog.  
Joe and Mabel bonded as Joe settled her.  As Mabel got a little out of control, Joe would pin her to the ground, one hand on her head and another on her hind legs, all while saying in a stern voice, “Settle! Settle.”  And she did settle.  Good girl.
She is a good girl.  I can now walk her outside as she goes to the bathroom and not put her on her line.  She was alone for a long while on Saturday as we galavanted in Decorah and she committed no mischief.  
People like her and tell me to not be surprised if she disappears one day.  
Because since she’s so darn cute and awesome, they might steal her.  

five years.

16 Oct
Joe, Amanda, Kara and I drove to the state to the south on Saturday for Luther College’s homecoming.  We missed the king and queen of Norway by a day or so in Decorah but we did manage to see and hug many college friends.  We arrived in our favorite Iowa city just in time for lunch at Magpie Coffeehouse, ice cream at the Whippy Dip, and continued onto campus to shop in the bookstore, wander the sidewalks, and tour the new buildings that have been built since our time as students.  Since it was our five year reunion, we also had a dinner that evening, complete with people Bingo, pizza, and needing to pull ourselves away by 9pm because this girl had to preach the next day.
We reminisced and I decided – almost to the point of a few tears – that I miss Luther.  I miss college.  We talked about how when we were students we thought our lives were busy and stressful.  I’d love to go back to the days when I had to work a few hours on the grounds crew [driving the gators, picking up garbage, watering pots, and watching Jeopardy with the old men staffers on break], eat every meal with friends, and do ridiculous things in addition to writing papers.  
Luther is simply a magical place.  A happy place.  A place of green space on the library lawn and thinking about the years I spent in various dorm rooms with awesome roommates.  It was so fun to return and remember. To check in with people I haven’t seen for years and be with other people who hold Luther in their hearts.  And to learn that Luther just recently installed a wind turbine that will cover one-third of the campus’ energy costs.  Luther is pretty awesome like that.  
A homecoming photo tour:
To help you understand the wonder that is the Whippy Dip – a peanut butter cup tornado with mainly pb cups.

Awesome bookstore book.

My freshman year room – Brandt 2nd West!


14 Oct
I’ve been a delinquent blogger.  A few days ago I was all set to sit down and write the reasons I don’t like my job.  Then I got wrapped up in website construction and driving places and going to text study.  It’s been a crazy week and I don’t even know how it got there.  And these next few weeks?  Ugh.  They’re inevitably filled with meetings/conversations/lunches/duties.  I don’t think there is one day which doesn’t already have something on the calendar.  Good things – very good things.  But busy busy.
I spent my day off today with a late lunch turned afternoon adventure with Paige, jD, and Lauren.  We’re planning a vacation.  Together.  Maybe with a few others joining in.  I won’t spoil the destination or manner of transport until it’s for certain but know that it would be snowy and a place from which I wouldn’t be able to blog.  [*gasp*]  Then Paige and I went to a new-to-us grocery store to buy baby pumpkins for fall events we’re holding at our churches.  [Mine is Sunday – eep!]  We broke the revolving door.  Well, we didn’t break it but we were at the scene of the crime as we both stood in the door, stupidly, as it went no where.  
Then Mabel and I vacuumed the house because we’re expecting guests in a matter of minutes.  Joe and Amanda are slumber partying with me tonight because tomorrow we are Decorah bound for Luther College homecoming.  Five years!  I’m super excited to visit the campus and the town set in the bluffs!
But back to the vacuum – Mabel’s not so sure about this device that makes noise.  She’d best get used to it; she’s the reason I have to use it so often.  A member stopped by my door this afternoon too … and Mabel get out.  Which is okay.  She’s gone out without a leash briefly and sticks around. until today. when she ran off.  Bad Mabel.  [But then she did come back.  Good Mabel.  She knows where her home is.]

reasons why –

11 Oct
– I love my job:
I spent two and a half hours at a care center, first yelling into the ear of a man who was hard of hearing while I attempted to give him communion in a public space.   [This was after we cleared up the fact that I was not the pastor’s wife but indeed the pastor.]  Second, visiting with a woman who, in the middle of a story, pointed to her television and asked, “Did you see my head of Christ?”  Why, yes, I did notice the statue of Jesus’ head that lights up on top of your tv.
Before I went to the care center, I spent close to two hours at a downtown Owatonna eating establishment with Paige, jD, and new friend, Amanda the intern.  I so appreciate the opportunities to check in and ask, “What would you do with this?” and “What are you doing for a children’s sermon this week?”
I now have a giant easel pad of paper on a giant easel in my office.  Marilyn fetched the easel for me – she thought it was necessary.  I stole the paper from her office.  Operation: Internet has begun and it requires a large visual.  [I’m listing every internet possibility and writing down details/crossing them off as I make phone calls.  After phone calls.]  It was finally realized that if I want internet, I need to start with the yellow pages and do it myself.  [Even though most of the research has been done; it just can’t seem to be organized.  Color me frustrated.]  The easel pad and a flower pot of new Crayola markers will help.
I spent yesterday morning quilting with the women of Red Oak Grove.  I do love a good quilting morning.
I can build a website/blog and it’s considered work.  I plan confirmation and it’s considered work.  I can call Karen from Stillwater at the synod office and it’s considered work.  A lot of mornings, I just stand in Marilyn’s office and talk.  I think that has its place too.

they’re onto me.

10 Oct
Yesterday at coffee hour, I stood chatting with a group of women.  One of them commented on how pretty my ring was.  It was a blue/green middle-finger ring day.
A second woman commented on how I wear a lot of rings.
Yup, I said.  And the bigger the better.
Then the third woman piped up.  Rings AND scarves.

Shut the front door.  They’re onto me.
Once they pick up on the cardigans, I’m done for.  
I also had a man tell me that I could only ever get rid of my dog if I found a man.
Excuse me?
We won’t get into that right now.
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