Archive | December, 2012

merry christmas, mabel.

27 Dec
You know you’ve made it and you’ve been accepted into a congregation when your dog gets Christmas presents.
It was handed to me last Sunday morning.  The tag, right below the bow, said To: Mabel.  From: Shad and Gracie.
I let Mabel open it when I got home that morning.  She loved it.

Mabel is at the kennel now, while I’m home on vacation/for Geep’s funeral.  I dropped her off on Christmas Eve morning and I received a phone call Christmas Eve night.  Mabel had been in a fight.  A dog scuffle.  She tried to take a bone from another dog and got her hind quarters handed to her.  There was a nick out of her ear and a gash on her butt.  Poor Mabel.

bye for now.

22 Dec
My Grandpa Sid [affectionately Geeps, Gpa, Popsicle and many other terms of endearment] died last night.  He had been on hospice for many months and just in the last week moved into an assisted living facility.  He was 91 and pretty awesome.
I’ll always remember as a child, together with a brother or cousin or something, Grandpa pushing us down an icy hill as we sat cross-legged in a metal bushel basket.  He’d give it a good twist before letting us go too.  I know – it doesn’t sound safe and it likely wasn’t, but, boy, it was fun for a little kid.  Such is farm life.
I remember him always walking to the bookshelf to get the atlas whenever I was at his house visiting. We’d have to look up my flight pattern to Africa or find out exactly where Dawson is or discuss the route I was taking to Alaska.  He liked that atlas.
I remember him always leaving after communion during church if the sermon was too long.  Preachers – take note.  He didn’t understand why church should take longer than an hour and breached the topic with me many times once I was ordained.
I’ll remember the way his laugh was practically silent when you got him laughing really hard.  It was usually the boy brothers and boy cousins who could get him going.  Oh, and the way he always responded when you asked him how he was.  Pretty good, *insert name of person asking*, pretty good with a gentle head nod.  It’s become a bit of a catch phrase in the family; I remember even getting a little Logan to say it on repeat.
Oh, Grandpa, with your pinstripe overalls and tight script handwriting.  He was a pretty great penpal too.  He sent me a birthday letter just a few weeks ago with the latest happenings.  His closing is pretty perfect too.  Bye for now.  Sounds about right, Gpa.  Bye for now.

ps. here is a post I wrote in August about the cuteness of Gpa.

an open letter to raspberries.

21 Dec
[Open letters are cool.  Everyone is writing them now.  I tend to address mine to food.  Check out my apology to hamballs here.]
Dear raspberries,

I’ll be honest.  You know me – I’m not afraid of honesty.
I used to not like you.
When someone offered me raspberries,  I would politely decline.  No thank you.  When raspberries were on a fruit platter, I would kindly pass over for the strawberries, the pineapple, the anything-but-you.  I don’t want your seeds in my teeth, raspberries, I would tell you.  Seeds.  Gross.  You’re gross.
It was this past summer I learned how … delicious you are.  I learned to live with your seeds, but yet, at the same time, avoid chomping and seed-in-teeth-severe-lodging.  You were my favorite fruit to mix in yogurt and oatmeal.  I would grab a handful of you to snack on.  I was constantly buying you at the store.
I found a new use for you this weekend.  I had some of your frozen friends in my freezer.  I had a bottle of clear soda left over from the confirmation party.  And then Marilyn gave me this for a Christmas present –

She knows me so well.  Wine and chocolate.  Throw one of those mini bottles in a glass with a touch of clear soda and some of you, dear raspberries, and it is utterly delicious.  You make my lame Friday night of the treadmill, laundry, and Lars and the Real Girl a little more exciting.  
And for that, raspberries, I thank you.  I take back anything I may have said ill of you in the past, and I profess my love for you, seeds and all.  That’s what love is, right?  Loving as the fruit is; faults, seeds, and all else.
Thanks for being there for me, raspberries.  Thanks for not giving up on me.  Because, as it turns out, you’re delightful.

snow.

20 Dec
It snowed here.  The wind is howling, schools were closed, and Mystique face-planted in the front yard.  And the best part – I have given myself the privilege to work from home.  In flannel polka dot pajama pants and wrapped in a blanket.  [Ten points for the person to guess the movie that playing in the background.]
In anticipation of the storm, I canceled any obligations I had today in exchange for the peace of staying off the roads.  I ran around like crazy yesterday to get things down so I could stay in.  I have plenty to keep me busy in the warmth of home.  It’s Christmas for a pastor.  I have sermons to write.  Three, to be exact.  I have things to do for sure.
I did go to the office this morning.  The commute wasn’t terrible but it ended with very wet pant legs.  I had to walk across the parking lot to grab some needed bulletins, books, and papers.  The lot hasn’t yet been plowed and it went from very little snow to very high drifts.  I could barely get the church door open against the drifts next to it.  
If I’m honest, I’m not bothered by the snow at all.  In fact, I really like it.  I think I like snow.  I dream of someday owning snowshoes and would love opportunities to go cross-country skiing more often.  It’s a good thing I don’t mind the white stuff or the cold – Paige and I bought train tickets to Montana yesterday.  Montana in January.  So excited.
It is best the snow has come now.  We hope for clear roads come holiday travel, especially this girl, whose only hope of being with family on Christmas is a clear drive home following Christmas morning church.  Here’s to writing three sermons, leading four services, and packing/wrapping all before then.  And all I feel like doing right now is napping.  

the glory of skype.

16 Dec
I didn’t preach today.  The children and youth of Red Oak Grove shared the gospel message instead.  They did a wonderful job dressed as both the conventional nativity characters and the unconventional [spider, rooster, and lightning bug].
It was quite wonderful because I was able to do a little no-sermon dance all of last week.  It especially took the pressure off of my Saturday, when, if I’m not writing a sermon, I’m still anxious about it and rereading/rewriting into the evening.  Yesterday afternoon, I undertook a couple batches of sugar cookies [which I always regret about one hour into the project] and spent about five hours on skype.
Five hours or at least close to it.  Do you know how awesome skype is?  I got to video chat and meet cutie pies, Harper and Hannah – two twin girls who must really give their parents a run for their money.  They are just about a month old and I’m excited to meet them as they turn two months old.  [Train trip to Montana with Paige in January?  Heck yeah.  The plans are in the works!]  
I met H&H and chatted with their oh-so-tired parents, and then I skyped with Joe and Amanda in Texas for right around three hours.  Three hours.  It totally didn’t seem like that long.  They were mixing cookies, they propped me up on their kitchen counter, and I felt like I was right there with them.  They’re coming back to WI for part of the holiday and I invited myself over to Seymour [the hamburger capital] for a sleepover.  I’m pretty excited for it.
Moral of the story:  Skype is pretty great.  My friends in Montana and Texas are awesome.  I’m excited to see all of them in the course of the next couple months!

holidazed.

15 Dec
If I were to give you a play-by-play of my Thursday, it would begin with waking in the middle of having an inappropriate dream.  Inappropriate in that I was dating someone inappropriate in the dream world.  Things were serious; we were holding hands.  [gasp.]  That’s all I can say about that.

I went about my day, spending my morning in Blooming Prairie with Pastor Charlie and Pastor Heidi.   We were working to get things in order for the annual BP Christmas Wish tree.  It included running to the grocery store for gift certificates, going thru applications, and shopping for sweatshirts to give to teenagers from the local screenprinting place – Sports Stitch.  It was here I ran into a dear, dear member of ROG.  One who, as he was leaving, decided to affectionately grab/squeeze my arm awkwardly and make my arm jiggle.  That was my morning.  I spent my early afternoon in Austin.  Then, come 3pm, I played hooky.  Paige and I met in Owatonna and drove north to Fort Snelling where we hopped on the lightrail to downtown Minneapolis.  It was holidazzle time, baby.
Holidazzle.  The annual nightly light parade down Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.  It was a wonderful excuse to escape to the city where no one knew us.  A place where we could be anonymous.  A place where I didn’t need to be Pastor Lindsay for just a few hours.  It’s a weight off my shoulders; a break.
We ate at The News Room, a great restaurant with walls covered in newsprint and bathrooms not clearly marked as men’s or women’s.  A couple with their toddler-aged boy sat next to us.  The boy kept looking at me and yelling, “Hello there!”  His parents were a bit embarrassed, I believe; I loved it.
Waiting for the parade to begin.
After dinner, we stood on the sidewalk with hundreds of other people and waited for the light parade to begin.  The light parade of cheesy music.  The light parade of kids strapped securely onto very slow moving floats.  The light parade with everyone from the Hansel and Gretel, to the Wizard of Oz, to people in spinning lightbulbs and circus trains, and to Santa’s workshop.
When the parade was over, we walked on the mall a bit.  It’s funny – you always watch the light parade as it goes in one direction with it’s cheesy music and strapped-in children.  You never wonder how the lighted floats and strapped-in children return to their point of origin.  Last night, Paige and I discovered the secret.  They hop on old buses and are bused back to the beginning, so just as Paige and I were about to cross the street, this bus of fairy tale characters, still in odd costumes, stage makeup, and crammed onto a bus, drove right past us.  The Tin Man stared into the depths of my soul.
He knew who I had been inappropriately holding hands with in my dreams.
It was absolutely hilarious, this bus of characters.  The Tin Man next to the giraffe from the circus float. The little kid mice sitting next to a spinning lightbulb.  All friends.  All tired from a long, cold ride of waving.  All awesome.  Thanks, Holidazzle, for providing a night of anonymity and a night of free entertainment.
We’re exciting; can’t you tell?

we threw marshmallows.

14 Dec
You know I like my confirmation kids a’ight.  I invited them over for a Christmas par-tay tonight.  Party at the parsonage!  That’s where everyone wants to be on a Friday night, right? 
Apparently, my confirmation kids agree.  They came over and we played Minute-to-Win-it games.  We ate pizza rolls and decorated ninjabreadmen cookies.  The party was supposed to end at 8:30; they called their parents and grandparents to change their pick-up until 9:30.  We had Elf to watch.

make lefse, not war.

12 Dec
I still haven’t told you about our lefse night here in southeastern Minnesota!  Watch me blog loudly about it.  
Paige, Lauren, and I each followed Belva’s lefse recipe and made a batch of lefse one Thursday evening, each in our respective kitchens.  On Friday, we gathered in jD and Lauren’s kitchen to turn the potato flakes, butter, and flour into rolled and grilled circles of Norwegian goodness.  Lauren had decorated for the occasion and Paige brought Grace Lutheran’s classic kitchen aprons.  [The one jD chose to wear even had a kleenex in the pocket.  Yummy.]
Once we got the hang of it, the three batches of lefse went quite smoothly.  We each naturally migrated towards places of rolling or mixing or grilling, each with our hands steadily coated in flour and our feet growing tired after hours on them.  We found one of the most rewarding parts to be taking the cooled lefse from between the towel sandwich and folding them into bags.  What a sweet reward for our hours of intense Norwegian labor.
Another rewarding part?  The lefse quesadillas.  Incredibly delicious.
Make lefse.  Not war.  Destined to be another southeastern clergy-group-of-awesome tradition.

pity, party of one.

8 Dec
Hey.
It’s my birthday.
I’m 29, boring, and I loathe sermon writing.
The day started out well.  I woke up on my grandparents’ couch.  I was home in Edgerton for an ever-so-very-brief two nights because of a memorial service I led on Friday in Illinois for a Dancing Banana’s father-in-law.  I was honored to have been asked to lead the service and grateful to have a way in which to contribute and help in such a difficult time.  And the funeral director?  Crazy awesome.  [And by crazy awesome I mean crazy.]
Anyways, I woke up on my grandparents’ couch.  We went out for breakfast, meeting my mom and her gentleman friend.  It was fun and delicious.  Next we went to see the new house of my mother’s.  I shopped local with Grandma and popped by to say happy birthday to my birthday buddy cousin, Connor [who is 20 and had returned from study abroad in Ghana just the night before].  Then I packed up and headed out.  From that point on, my birthday got really lame really fast.
I stopped at Starbucks in Wisconsin Dells to claim my free birthday drink and then I stopped in LaCrosse to claim my Mabel who had been boarded there for the past two nights.  We drove home and I muddled my way through a patchwork, likely-disaster sermon for tomorrow.  [I’d had a funeral at ROG on Wednesday; between that and the memorial service on Friday, no Sunday prep was to be found during the work week.]  When I have to write my Sunday sermons on Saturday night [my birthday, nonetheless], I become a monster.  I become a monster who cries and will say she hates her job.  A bitter monster.  deep breath.

Maybe when you turn 29, birthdays just get boring and bitter by default.  
No?  It’s just me?
Of course.
I used to say that birthdays were my excuse to make my friends do something I wanted to do.  Like have friends over to my house.  Or go on an adventure.  Or play crazy board games.  Or eat cake.  Now maybe birthdays will be my excuse to drink wine at home alone [which really makes it no different than any other night].

Party on, Wayne.

Party on, Garth.


coughing hysteria.

3 Dec
I’ve had a cold for the past week.  This isn’t new.  I’ve lived with it.  I’ve chugged cold medicine and gone through boxes of kleenexes.  I thought I was beginning to feel better.
Then Sunday morning happened.  I was fine.  Just fine.  [Or as Monica would say when she is sick, I’m find.  Chandler responds, When you say fine with a D, you’re not FIND.]  My voice was a little nasal but that’s it.  I wasn’t really coughing.  I was good.
Until the reading of the gospel, which, luckily, was an all-together reading for this particular Sunday.  The congregation continued reading while I got the most giant coughing fit ever.  I couldn’t stop.  They keep reading Psalm 96 while I ran into the sacristry where I remembered seeing mint candies.  Something to suck on would help calm the coughing, I thought.  
I thought wrong.  The children’s sermon time was horrible.  I finally, into the microphone, had to ask that someone get me some water.  A bottle of water came up the aisle, along with a partially opened cough drop from the depths of some old lady’s purse.  I ate it.  There was no time for Halloween candy ethics [if it’s open, throw it away]; that cough drop helped me survive the rest of the church service.
I still coughed a lot.  And made the congregation answer a question to one another at the beginning of the sermon just so I could blow my nose.  It was terrible miserable and I’m so embarrassed by it all.  But what else was I to do?  I had no associate to take over, and just wasn’t sure what my next move should be besides hacking up a lung into my elbow cough pocket while serving communion.  [Just kidding.  By communion time, I was mostly okay.]
I went out with a group of eight older church ladies later that afternoon.  We went to see the production of White Christmas at the local college and then out to Culver’s.  We addressed my coughing fit and they told me I handled it very well.  You’re human, one woman told me.  True story.
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