Archive | May, 2012


31 May
Wednesday was baccalaureate for the seniors of the Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms.  [I still can’t get over that their mascot is a flower.  I no longer have the privilege of complaining about my high school – the Crimson Tiders.]  This service was held at the Catholic church in Blooming in the evening and all six pastors from the town participated in the service.  
What do you get when four Lutheran pastors, a Baptist minister, and a Catholic priest lead a service together?
First, Lindsay gets ulcers and then we get ice cream at Dairy Queen.
I remember telling Kendall on internship that I don’t do surprises in worship.  I like a clear plan with nearly every word I say scripted.  I like to know where I need to be when and how I will get there.  If these pieces don’t exist, I get anxious.  I need to know what’s going on and my role in it all or palms are sweaty, the voice chokes, and nothing can be in any sort of focus but a nervous one.
The six pastors met beforehand but no one said, “Hey.  Let’s walk through the service together.”  [I suppose I could have been that person.]  No one, as we walked to the back of the sanctuary to lead the graduates in procession, said, “Dudes.  Let’s be strategic about who sits where in the aisle based on role and timing.”  [Okay.  I said it quietly and without the initial dudes.  I could have spoken up.]  [And that’s when Stephanie, aka Heidi, aka a pastor at the big Lutheran church in town, said, “You should blog about this.”  It was all sorts of circus.  Check.]
The service happened.  We processed, prayed and preached.  Songs were sang and Scriptures read.  We high-fived the graduates as they left the church in lines – a high-give gauntlet, if you will.  Survival was the result.  Thanks be to God.
Thanks be to God because the pastor tradition is to get ice cream afterwards.  A fun tradition, say I.  A late night treat that reminded me how thankful I am for companions in ministry.  How awesome is it that I get to be a part of services like this next to a seminary friend with whom I can fist bump before leading the benediction?  [And who begins to eat my ice cream by mistake but I feel comfortable enough sharing germs and saying, “That’s okay.  But keep your own spoon.”] I’d say it’s pretty rare that two seminary classmates – let alone pretty wonderful friends – end up sharing in such ministry right out of school.  And how awesome is it that the two Lutheran pastors at the big church in town are so great?  One – Stephanie/Heidi – is my mentor which basically means we go out for ethnic food or coffee once a month.  [Not a bad deal.]  The other is simply pastorally wonderful.  Neither is crazy or off their rocker.  They can be trusted and approached. Thanks be to God.
So bacca-what?  Bacca-circus.  Bacca-ice cream.  Bacca-awesome.


30 May
I like my dog.  Love her?  Maybe.
Not that I haven’t before this point, but Mabel and I have perhaps grown on each other.
I remember the first week she came to live with me and I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life.  I suddenly had to think about someone else’s schedule and become less selfish in my day to day living.  And then she started pooping in the house and I didn’t like her much for it.
We’ve both adjusted.  While in the first weeks, Mabel would wake up by 6:30 each morning, now she will easily let me sleep until 8 – even 9:30 – if I have the chance.  Sometimes she’ll even put herself to bed earlier in the night if I’m not ready to go upstairs yet.  We have a system down in regards to couch sitting.  I sit on the left; she takes the right.  Sometimes she gets sick of the couch all together and opts for the loveseat with throw pillows; she just awkwardly lays on top of them all, fighting a losing battle.
Then there was her run away phase.  Perhaps we’ve moved beyond that too, at least slightly.  We’ve gotten into the habit of getting a treat upon coming inside so of course – who would run away if there was a treat on the other side of the door?  You’d be a fool to run and see the neighbors when the other option is a minty bad breath fighting bone.
And, well, she’s just pretty darn cute.  She costs me a lot of money between food and boarding and $1.50 special treats, and she requires a lot of cleaning up after [much hair on floor and everywhere].  But she loves ice cubes and eats raw broccoli if given the opportunity.  And she’s pretty damn funny when it comes time to throw a ball; it’s like she is all of a sudden a total puppy again.  Plus, it’s pretty great to have someone to greet upon getting home; I call her my sweetie-pie-honey-bunch.  
Maybe it’s Mabeline. I like her alright.  


30 May
It used to be a dirty word in my world.  Like I should wear a scarlet I on my clothing to warn people to stay away.  [Huh.  Somedays maybe that actually isn’t a terrible idea …] I’d like to think the negative connotation of the dirty word is finally changing.
I remember meeting with my candidacy committee, way early in my process to become ordained as a pastor.  They told me I needed to work on my introvert nature.  I took this as a low blow.  Perhaps they didn’t mean it as such but to me, it sounded like they wanted me to change, and that without that change, I wouldn’t make a good pastor.
Then I recall taking my psych test for the candidacy process.  [Do you like to read auto mechanic magazines? was a question on the test.  Um … no?]  I met with the doctor to go over my results and he drew a line on his whiteboard.  On one end were extreme extroverts.  On the other, extreme introverts.  He put an x on the line at the extreme introvert side.  I once again got the impression this was not good.
Add to that one of the main reasons I’d felt for years I couldn’t be a pastor was because I was such an introvert.  I was not getting the idea that seminary would not work for this quiet, introspective gal.  I wasn’t sure they [the powers that be] were going to let me go through with it.
Enter my time at Trinity in Stillwater and one awesome coworker named Jodi.  I finally learned that my introvert nature didn’t need to be changed.  That I could be who I was and still be a pastor.  And – not only that – being an introvert named Lindsay was awesome.  Because it’s all part of my unique design as one of God’s children.
Ever since then, I’ve been intrigued by the introvert/extrovert types and how I fit into one so obviously and not the other.  I’ve been amazed at how true it is – how sometimes just ten minutes of stepping away by myself can make all the difference in the world.  It’s made me incredibly self-aware in the last years and months and weeks about my limits and my own self-care.  I’ve also been amazed at how still some people don’t honor it, or still think this extrovert ideal is the best approach.  Boo to them.

I just started in on a book about introverts [I think I’ve told you about it before.] and I’m loving it.

What I’m not loving is the suggestions B&N gave me to purchase in addition.  Are you suggesting I’m ill, B&N?  And The Loners’ Manifesto?  Really?  Slightly offended.  And slightly laughed at the connection.  Now leave me alone.  I need to be by myself so I can write my manifesto while being ill because that’s what I do.

just kidding.  
I love you.  
But sometimes I do need time to be quiet and be by myself.  Don’t take it personally.

please, sir –

29 May
– may I have another rhubarb margarita?
aka the farmgirl margarita.
aka deliciousness.
aka this farmgirl’s perfect drink for a monday afternoon.
aka a memorial day treat.
aka the day when we celebrate france.  [I think that’s right.]

I spent memorial day proper hanging out with the peeps in Owatonna.  
We ate grilled food, held a baby, and played bocce ball.  
It was just what the doctor ordered for this tired, stressed and burned out girl who is hanging on by a thread until vacation begins. 
Exactly what I needed.

another world.

29 May
Paige and I went high class last Thursday night.  We wined and dined at the Four Daughters Winery in Spring Valley, MN.  And, boy, were we out of our league.
We had driven past this gem of a place on our way to a meeting at Good Earth Village a week prior.  Intrigued were we and we signed up for their Thursday night tour and dinner.  It wasn’t cheap but we splurged. 
We joined a whole crew of people who apparently do things like this for a living.  You know, expensive dinners of grilled watermelon salads and smelling their wines.  “Tell me more about your barrels.”  “This one time, we flew to DC for the day …”  “When I climbed Kilimanjaro …”  “This lamb is superb.”  “Can you smell the sulfur?”  “Actually, creme fraiche is …”
Except the lady next to me.  When our strawberry soup dessert arrived in front of us, she made some comment about her young son.  “It’s like a smoothie he left out too long.  It’s melted smoothie.”  Thems my kind of people.
It was fun despite the one-upping all through the table and the noses in the air.  And the fact that we all sat at one table and thus they could charge us 20% gratuity.  Don’t worry – we grounded ourselves and lowered our noses once we stopped at Culver’s for ice cream.  [Strawberry soup is not proper dessert in our books.]  It was the perfect escape for this girl after a real crappy and long Thursday of work.  

My, what nice barrels you have.

Because who doesn’t love grilled watermelon and chive blossoms? 

little triumphs.

26 May
I honestly don’t know where my weekends go.  Thursday night Paige and I went to a wine tasting/dinner.  [Stories and photos still to come.]  I suppose yesterday was occupied with a couple pastoral care visits and running errands.  Today I slept in until 9:30, sleeping to the soundtrack of a thunder storm. I rolled four cakes worth of cakeballs and answered some long delayed emails.  I wrote a sermon [don’t get me started on that.] and had Harry Potter movies playing in the background all day.  Mabel and I went for a short walk and I quilted.
Glorious quilting.  Too many days it is my saving grace, my creative outlet, and my chance to see something progress.  I finished a quilt top for a baby boy quilt tonight.  It’s been a joy and challenge to create; I used all fabrics I already had in my stash, except the backing [which I bought for $2.97/yard – score!]. The backing fabric is in the washer and I go to bed dreaming of free motion quilting and hand binding which will have to wait until tomorrow night to begin.  Long day tomorrow … 

vacation plans.

24 May
It’s one week away and I’m beyond psyched.  [obviously.  I can’t stop talking about it.]
It will be a lot of driving but glorious time away.  
Oh, beautiful day.
Vacation will start with a wedding on Friday in the Cities.  Seminary friend, Frank, is marrying his Kate.  And I’m bringing the cakepops.  [They hired me to make 300.  Yum yum.]
I’ll stay a night with BFF Sara in her new home [which she shares with a boy.  eww.  gross.  boys.] and then drive to Dawson the next day for graduation festivities.  And maybe a Sunday of worship at Grace?  [I hate to be that person … but any Dawson friends have a couch I could crash on Saturday night?  My usual couch-to-crash-on is at the house of one of said graduation parties.  Needless to say, they will be otherwise engaged and busy.  Any suggestions?]
From Dawson, I may swing down to Sioux Falls to visit my college roommate and her husband for a night or two.  It’s been a long while since I’ve played with Joe and Amanda!  
I’ll return to the parsonage for a night to unpack and repack for the second leg of the adventure.  I’m buying a state park pass and hopping my way north to Grand Marais, where I have a two night reservation at a bed and breakfast.  I’ve never been north of Duluth and it’s been over 10 years since I was even that far north.  I’m excited to see lighthouses, hike, read, and relax.  And most of all –
I’m excited to kayak.  To go kayaking is a long time dream of mine.  I’ve never been and I just know I will love it.  I love a good canoe trip and I have a feeling kayaking will be just as wonderful.  I have signed up for a guided kayak tour out and about on Lake Superior and I’m so thrilled at the thought.
You might wonder, Are you going by yourself?  Yes.  I recently came to the realization that if I keep waiting for someone to have these adventures with, I may never do it.  My friends are busy.  My friends have other friends.  Some of my friends don’t even have the same interests.  And so I go by myself.  I learned from my Alaskan adventure last summer that traveling along isn’t so horrid.  It even has some perks.  I don’t mind being alone.  [which sounds really sad.  but it’s okay.  really.  well, most days anyways.]

immediate reactions.

24 May
Once upon a time, there was a billboard.  This billboard was the route of a major highway in south eastern Minnesota.  Pastor Lindsay passed the billboard today.  On one side of the board it said Heaven.  On the other side it said Hell.  There was an OR between the two words.  Heaven or Hell.  Below that was a phone number: [random three numbers] – FOR – TRUTH.  Then there was, in the corner, John 3:36.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
Things like this make Pastor Lindsay’s skin crawl.  Things like this tend to be the version of Christianity most people know.  Heaven or hell.  Black and white.  Absolute.  Right and wrong.  Call them for the truth because obviously they have it and you don’t.  [This isn’t even addressing the ignorance and intolerance and everything else for which Christianity gets press.  Gross.]
The Lutheran in me twitches.  The liberal in me screams.  For a long time, I would have really questioned myself in regards to my immediate reactions.  Could I confidently say what I believed?  Are my liberal Lutheran beliefs off and crazy?  Will people tell me I’m wrong for being a universalist [belief in salvation for all] and thinking this billboard is off its rocker?  
When I was on the first call theological retreat a couple weeks ago, I heard a seasoned pastor – one that I greatly respect – engage in a discussion about something or other with another.  At one point, he said this: “If there isn’t universalism, I’m not sure I want anything to do with it.”
Phew.  My own beliefs affirmed by another.  [Unfortunately, I need that affirmation for confidence sake.]  I can be a universalist and be okay.  [But don’t tell ROG.  I’m not sure they’re ready for their liberal pastor to come out of the box.]  I can scorn this billboard for being so certain, and I can believe that God’s love is bigger than they [and I] know.  I can say that I don’t have all the answers and that’s okay.  No one does – especially those who claim they do.
Okay.  I don’t know if I made any sense at all.  It’s probably scrambled and odd.  But I’m done now.


promoting self-esteem.

22 May
Amen, D. Lose.  Amen.  
The nail hath been hitteth on the head.  I often have these thoughts and these fears and the need to help young gals [and guys] in my ministry feel loved and valued … but I couldn’t have said it any better than awesome D. Lose.  
[David Lose is a beloved Norwegian-sweater-wearing preaching professor at Luther Seminary and a constant help to me on my sermons via  You can sign up for daily devotions from him delivered to your email on his … in the Meantime site, linked above.]

this week –

21 May
The name of this week is balance.  And joy.  And sanity.
After a really crappy Saturday night of loathing my job and hating myself for my procrastination talent, I need a recovery week.  Balance.  Joy.  Sanity.
How will that happen?
. No evening meetings equals home at five every night. 
. Fresh strawberries and fresh pineapple.
. Designated DEAR time during the work day.
. Iced coffee in the fridge.
. The beginnings of a container garden and spreading mulch.  And I moved a hosta.  I hope I didn’t kill it.
. Booking a b&b and kayak trip in Grand Marais for vacation.  Maybe a pottery class too?
. A new quilt pieced together on the dining room table.
. A list of enjoyable tasks at church that include large sheets of paper and a staff meeting.
Do you hear that?  It’s me breathing a sigh of relief.  This week will be awesome.

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