Archive | August, 2012

my next screen play.

31 Aug
[and by next I mean first.]
I just spent an hour dropping off bulk mail at the Austin Post Office.  The LOG [our monthly newsletter at ROG – get it?] is en route to members thirsty for the latest word from this church.  [or maybe it’s their recycling bin that is hungry for it.  whichever.]  Anyways, Marilyn usually drops this off.  She’s the one who weighs it, fills out the appropriate paperwork, and makes sure when it is dropped off that it keeps the lovely USPS clerks happy.  This time the cookie crumbled and it was my job to deliver.  I got a sneak peak at the world that is church administrative assistants.
Behind me in line was another church dropping off their monthly newsletter.  I spent a fair bit of time at the counter this time around because the weight on the group of 10 newsletters was off by .009.  Off by too much apparently.  The clerk who was helping me had to go ask someone else a question, and then she had to reweigh, and then she had to explain to me how to fill out new paperwork with the appropriate weight, all the while this administrative assistant behind me waited for another clerk.
Another clerk appeared and the admin assistant behind me went to her with the boxes of newsletters in her hands.  She kinda giggled, looked at me, and said, More of the same thing, in a sing-songy voice.  But her weight on the group of 10 was correct.  No further questions, no reweighing.  She was in.  And then she sneered at me with a mix of pity and a mix of superiority as she left the counter, arriving after me and leaving before me.  What a smug church basement lady.
Okay.  No, she didn’t really sneer but what a movie screen play it could be if she did!  The entire drive home I wondered what the secret lives of church administrative assistants is like.  Competitiveness at the post office counter over bulk mail, bragging rights over who could fold bulletins the fastest, and who also played the organ.  I imagine the movie would be a lot like Drop, Dead Gorgeous but with less murder and more lipstick stains on coffee cups.  


30 Aug
There is likely little guesswork involved to realize that I’m poor.  Student loans helped get me through school but they are no fun to pay back on a beginning pastor’s salary.  That being said – I take all the free furniture I can get.
Like this ottoman from my mom’s house.  She asked me if I wanted it over the phone and I think I said, nah.  It was kind of ugly.  But then I remembered I was poor and live in a huge house with only enough furniture to make 1/3 of it livable.  Okay.  Sure.  I’ll make a slipcover for it.
I bought the fabric ages ago and had it draped over the ottoman for months.  The task of actually sewing a slipcover scared me.  I don’t sew three-dimensional things like that.  I sew quilts.  They’re flat. A slipcover?  I didn’t quite know how to tackle it.
I knew I wanted something simple and something that would only take a night to complete.  Thank you, design*sponge, for this tutorial.  Slipcover done in a matter of a couple hours and it looks so much better than the maroon furry-ness of before.  It does the job and I think does it well.  

new hobby.

27 Aug
I stumbled across this blog tonight – Lindsay Letters.  
First, her name is Lindsay.  [duh.  awesome.]
Second, she loves pretty writing and paper and addressing envelopes.  [me too!]
Third, that’s her job.  People pay her to address envelopes.  [this lindsay jealous.]
ohmygoodness.  I love her.  I want to be her.  [her husband is a gorgeous red head too.  of course.]
Many, many years ago, I had a calligraphy book and pen.  I’ve always loved writing and letters and penmanship and I remember trying to learn the art of calligraphy.  I also remember giving up.
Watch me try again.  I’m so inspired by her writing this may just become a winter hobby for me, learning calligraphy with nibs and inks and pretty papers.  
Then I can address your Christmas cards.

that’s so sad.

26 Aug
At the wedding reception last night, I was one of the first guests into the room where we would be dining and wanted to find a seat that was out of the way but also easily accessible to stand up and pray before the meal.  I chose a seat at a table that had no one else at it yet and sat down.  
A group of people approached and asked if they could join me.  Of course, I said.  It was two older women [sisters] and two teenagers [daughters of one of the women]; I didn’t know them at all.
One of the teenagers:  Are you here by yourself?
Me: Yes.
Teenager: (with pity)  Awww!  That’s so sad!

Yes.  Thank you.

wedding season.

25 Aug
One wedding this weekend.  Two next weekend.
The one this weekend is one I’ve actually been excited about.  Let’s just say this to start – weddings are hard for me as a pastor.  Weddings are often events where I know only the couple getting married and maybe a handful of others.  Weddings require me to spend time with a whole bunch of people I don’t know and that is exhausting for me.  Weddings are another sermon for the week and are all so different from each other that each is its own entity requiring thought and planning and time.
This weekend’s wedding is for a couple with whom I would love to be friends.  They are beyond kind and friendly.  They were the first people at Red Oak Grove to have me over for dinner, which happened when I visited their house regarding their daughter’s baptism.  The groom is also part of a family that I know.  His cousin is in my confirmation class.  Through being a part of his great-uncle’s funeral a couple months ago, I was able to meet a lot of the family.  It was comforting to know that I would show up at the farm and have familiar faces.  In fact, this was the first wedding at ROG where I was a.) invited and b.) went to the rehearsal dinner.  And it was fun!  I sat at the kids’ table with Marnie, the confirmation student, and the other kiddos in the wedding.  One of them, a six year old boy, cracked me up beyond belief.  It was great entertainment for the evening.
And then there is the farm.  That’s the other part of this wedding that excited me.  The ceremony was to take place at the bride’s family farm.  I like that say that it was my wedding.  Only I attended as officiant.  Hay bales, mason jars, on the family farm.  Pretty sure I blogged about this way back when.  I was excited to see how this picture perfect wedding played out. 
Let’s just say it rained.  We held out as long as we could and it looked like we had a window of clearing.  The bridal party lined up and we started the ceremony.  Halfway through the declaration of intention, the sky opened up and it started to pour again.  Vows, rings, kiss, done.  [A little bummed that the wedding homily I worked on for a few hours will never be preached but so the cookie crumbles and the rain falls.]  Everyone was soaked by the end of it, even with umbrellas throughout the crowd and wedding party.  
The couple was so great about it though.  I think some brides and grooms would turn sour at such a unwelcome shower of rain but they practically laughed through the whole thing and were so great about it.  It’s one not to be forgotten.  I’m home briefly now to throw my clothes in the dryer before heading off again to the dinner portion of the celebration.  Luckily, that is slated to be inside at a ballroom.  Mmm, cake.

new sunglasses.

25 Aug
I know I’ve written before about constantly worrying of how I am perceived by the people around me, feeling judged, and the negative self-talk that goes on in my head.
No more.
I don’t think I realized the extent all of those factors had on my life until recently.  Some of those factors are cultural, some of it is shame, some of it is part of my created being.  But I’m trying something new.  No more worrying about what other people think of me; they can think what they want and that’s up to them.  No more paralyzing fear surrounding the constant black cloud of feeling judged by others when I open my mouth or walk into a room.  No more saying mean things about myself to myself, or thinking that I’m not enough as I am.
Well, it’s not that easy … but I’m working on it.  
I remind myself each day that people can think what they want.  I remind myself that fear of judgement should not hold me back.  I remind myself that I am enough.
Exercise #23 in operation-no-more-making-myself-feel-shitty-about-myself: Buying and wearing this pair of sunglasses.
They are obviously sold with an adolescent age group in mind.  They are likely not something a 28-going-on-29 year old pastor would or should wear.  They make me look ridiculous.  Sometimes, when I’m well aware of what is on my face and I’m meeting someone new, I freak a little bit and feel like I should take them off to somehow make myself more proper.
But f*ck that.  I like polka dots, they’re crazy awesome in my book, and they keep me from squinting.  
Think what you want; I’m going to keep wearing them.

soap opera drama: part two.

21 Aug
Last week I freaked out on you.  In what has become the third most frequently viewed post on this blog, I lashed out in anger at the disappearance of my current go-to show from the list of streaming shows through my roku.   [what determines a popular post on this blog I will never know – that particular one was about a tv show and anger at netflix.  really?]  In McLeod’s Daughters‘ absence, something magical happened, proving that even in the most dire of situations, there can be good.  
A curse came over me and, in moments of weakness, addiction, and extremely late nights, I consumed the entire first season of Once Upon A Time on hulu in a week.
Have you seen it?  Its first season aired last year on ABC, to return again this fall.  I was drawn into the magic, the story, the fairy tale, and my new fashion idol.
In fashion sense, I want to be Snow White as she is in Storybrooke.  Mary Margaret is her name.  I love her skirts, her coats, and her cardigans.  And her hair.  Her hair.  I want my hair to do what her hair does.  My television fashion idol used to be Lorelai Gilmore and I do fear she has been replaced.  Lorelai, you did not receive a rose; please say your goodbyes.
Now that I’m finished with the first season of Once Upon A Time, do you worry I will return to my angry self at the loss of my Australian soap?  Do you fear another snappy post or continued depression at my lack of the drama on the sheep farms in my life?  Do you have concern for my general well being and the emphasis I put on television shows in my life?
Don’t.  Because I looked again and McLeod’s Daughters is back streaming on Netflix.  Perhaps they heard my cries and decided to do something about it.  Perhaps they were enraged to know that 59 people read my blog post against them.  Or maybe it was just temporarily unavailable on that one day when I freaked out.
Whatever the case, I thank you, Netflix.  If you had not momentarily been reconfiguring your catalog of television shows, I may not have stumbled upon Once Upon A Time and Mary Margaret’s hair.  
Oh, the hair.

let’s not jinx it –

20 Aug
– but life in ministry is pretty good right now and I owe it to day camp [among other things].  
First of all, day camp gave me a chance to do what I really love.  Plan a whole bunch of crazy things for kids to do.  And then do those crazy things with them.  It gave me the opportunity to get to know some of the youth at ROG a bit better.  Day camp made me happy.  [I had lunch with my synod friend, Karen, today.  She told me, It was great to hear you so excited about day camp.  And she’s right.  I was excited.  And that is great.]
Second, day camp got me mucho brownie points with the congregation.  The older members LOVE seeing kids at church.  They are, after all, the future of the church.  Older members were astonished at how many kids came and they ate it up.  Yesterday was a wonderfully affirmative Sunday at church and while not all of it was related to day camp, a lot of it was.  The people are excited that the kids are excited.  And that makes me excited.
Third, day camp has given energy and excitement around children and youth ministry at Red Oak Grove.  [I should add day camp AND the national youth gathering of last month.]  I met with a few parents and interested people in working with kids and they are on board with what I have to say.  I think they are learning to trust me.  Not to say that all of my ideas are the right ones or that I always know what I’m doing, but seeing the success of a few things in the past has given me a bit of clout, I daresay.  [We talked about my want of a youth space.  A youth room.  They’re totally on board.  I could carpet that room for you, said one member.  Make it more cozy and a more welcoming place.  Yes!  Deal!]
Ministry is good and it only took me a year of being here and a day of day camp to say that.  
Here’s hoping it continues.

the fair.

18 Aug
It’s the week of the Steele County Free Fair.  It’s known as quite the fair in these parts and all week I’ve had people tell me what kind of food I should eat while there.  Paige and I went Thursday night with high expectations.
I think I’ve decided that I’m just not a fair person.  I used to go to the county fair every year in high school with friends.  We would meet up with our friends who would show animals, grab a quick burger from a stand, and then spread our blankets on the grass for whatever concert was in the grandstand that evening.  That was fun.  I was a that-kinda-fair person.
But the kind of fair person who goes to try as many things on a stick as they can or the kind of fair person who goes to eat their way down rows – that I am not.  I think some of it has to do not only with my non-existent goal of fair-going-and-eating, but with the amount of people too.  Paige and I started walking to the fairgrounds and I almost wanted to turn around as the streams of steady people flowed through the gates.  I don’t know.  I’ve just learned once more that fairs are not my ideal source of fun.
Now that I’ve been a complete downer and probably caused fair-going-and-loving types to feel bad …

That’s not to say that Paige and I didn’t enjoy ourselves at all or that we frowned the whole time.  We ate dinner at the Aurora Diner – a restaurant on site that is ran by one of jD’s churches.  Then we walked around.  At a political booth, we inquired about how to get vote no tshirts for the upcoming MN amendment vote.  [Not that we could wear them except out of town …]  And Paige ate shortcake.  We laughed at the llamas.  And then we walked around more.  And we ate nitro ice cream and played BINGO for a quarter a game.  And then we walked around more.  Then we left.

We did make a game out of it.  The game?  Who could spot the most church members.  Paige saw and greeted something like seven members.  I greeted a person twice and, not going to lie, it was the same member both times.  [I did see a couple I know from the church in Blooming; they said I could count them.  So three.]  Paige beat me out, over double the members I saw.  Seven times the members I saw.  [There is something to said about size of church and location of church and members but we did not take those factors into the equation.]
Will I rush to the State Fair?  No.  Will I be in any hurry to go again next year?  Probably not.  Did we win Bingo even once?  Nope.  But the gravy was good.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had gravy.

day camping.

17 Aug
Day camp.  R-to-the-O-to-the-G-style.  [which, for those of you who don’t know, is awesome.]
I may have panicked the day before, needing to schedule the day, buy supplies, and find some adult helpers, but it came together [as it always does].  I managed to pull nearly everything together in time which was good because on Wednesday morning, seventeen kids showed up.  Ranging in age from 4 to 8th grade, we were [mostly] ready for a day of fun.
Our theme was feet, taking a nod from Joshua 1:9.  [a la ‘be strong and courageous, not frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you every step of the way’]  We tie-dyed socks and painted our feet to create a new banner for our worship space.  Relay games, fun snacks, and crazy camp games filled more of the day.
My favorite part of the day?  The seventh and eighth graders who signed up – there were three – signed up under the title of “counselor.”  Being so last minute, there was no training involved for their role.  I told them that they would participate along with everyone else but I might call on them to do a few errands or help with activities throughout the day.   Emma, Alec, and Elly were awesome counselors beyond my expectations.  These three had all spent a week at Good Earth Village as campers this summer and they had an idea what counselors do at camp.  They led younger campers around by hand.  They taught their favorite games from camp.  They led small group time with great leadership.  High fives and $5 gift cards to DQ for these awesome kids!
A couple kids told me, “We should do this like five times a year!” I don’t know about that, kids, but we’ll try it again next summer for sure, and maybe for longer than just a day.  The kids loved it, and I did too.  It fed my soul to plan and be a part of this.  Good day.  Good day.
prepping socks for tie-dye.

teamwork to pull apart a frozen tshirt.

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