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A coffee cup.

22 Apr

I chose this one today.

 I miss my gnome friends.

[Both the ones who live in Gnome Park and the ones who worship and work at Grace.]


A memo to the Batman.

13 Feb

[A memo to the Batman.]

To: The Batman

From: gnomepreacher [and her friends at Red Oak Grove]

I have two theories, Batman.

1. Bats simply follow you wherever you go.  OR

2. You brought one on purpose.

In my year and a half at Red Oak Grove, I have seen no bats.  I have heard no bats.  I have had no bats swooping at my head.  That all changed last Sunday … conveniently the Sunday AFTER you visited.  Hmmm …

I hadn’t walked into the narthex/sanctuary yet that morning; the organist was the first to do that.  I was in a different hallway, chatting with people who had just arrived when we heard a screech.  I can’t be exactly sure but I think it was something like this: AHHH!  THERE’S A BAT!

Because there was a bat swooping around in the narthex.  A bat, Batman.  Explain that one.  I will mention that because of our lack of bats, we do not have proper bat-catching or bat-fighting tools.  There was a broom involved and a trash can at some point.  I’m sad to say, though they tried, the bat did not make it out alive.  We lack the Batman skill.

[Gail: This is really just me wanting you to make sure Keith knows we have now had a bat!  Pass it on!]

So yesterday was awesome.

4 Feb

[So yesterday was awesome.]  It started out as a regular Sunday with one major difference – I was feeling quite rested and ready after two weeks of vacation.  Bring on worship.

I’m sitting in my office, prepping and talking to the treasurer, when I see out the window a couple from my former life walking up the sidewalk.  Batman was here!  Batman and his wife were here!  [Wondering who Batman is?  Read this.]  It was so fun to see them and chat with them.  A day can’t go wrong when there are Dawson visitors involved!

Fast forward.  Everyone has left church and I’m tidying up a few loose ends before heading out.  Boy Scout dad and two of his kids [also my neighbors and a family who attend ROG] show up; they hold their den meeting at ROG some Sunday afternoons.  One of his kids with him is in the den; the other is his daughter.  Why is his daughter coming to the Boy Scout meeting?  To conduct a science experiment, in which I also participated.

Budding scientist:  Hi Pastor Lindsay.  Do you want to help me with my science project?
PL:  What do I have to do?
Budding Scientist: [whips ziploc bags of cookies from her grocery tote] Try three different cookies and then I’ll ask you some questions.

[Let me get this straight.  You want me to eat three chocolate chip cookies at the point in the day when I’m most hungry after working and running around since 7:30 this morning?]

PL: Um, yeah!

And so I tried cookies A, B, and C.  I ranked them for overall taste and crunch.  [Turns out one had baking power, one had baking soda, and one had neither.]  Most delicious and awesome science project ever.

From there, I went on a hospital call.  Sweet, dear gentleman who normally resides in the care center was in the hospital.  He was pretty weak and he hadn’t had any liquids to drink for at least a day; he tried to talk but with such a dry mouth, it was hard to understand him.  His son was there; he tried to translate for me.  At two different points, the sweet, dear gentleman said things in my general direction.  I looked at the son for translation.  First: He says he likes your scarf.  Second: He says you have a nice coat.  Well, thank you, sweet, dear gentleman.

More day of awesome continued with a trip to the dog park for Ms.Mabel, phone conversations with long lost friends, and velvetta cheese at a Superbowl party.  The only disappointment in this day of awesome was missing out on a date with my bestie, Sara, for the second time due to snow.  Darn snow.  One of these days, Sara and I will reunite and it will be all kinds of awesome.

On a day like this – part two.

2 Aug
Today was a pretty awesome day.
Honestly, likely the best work day I’ve had in weeks.  Maybe months.
I feel a little guilty that this best-day-ever wasn’t spent visiting the elders of the congregations.  It wasn’t spent in worship with the members of Red Oak Grove.  It wasn’t even spent in conversation with anyone in the congregation.  But it was a necessary ministry day of big picture thinking.
It was a confirmation planning day with my imaginary coworkers, jD and Laura.  [Imaginary in that they are not technically my coworkers, wish as I may.  Not imaginary as in I made them up and talked to the wall all day.]  jD and I met at Red Oak Grove and skyped with Laura, a pastor in Hutchinson.  In a morning, we planned confirmation for the 2012 – 2013 school year and it will be super great.  I even ordered the curriculum today.  [A season of Freaks and Geeks.  That’s right –  you’re curious.  Too bad I can take absolutely no credit for the idea.]
Laura had to depart after the noon hour [I hear she was off to a meeting with you, Pastor Lori!] but jD and I continued our staff meeting over lunch at Applebee’s.  Another goal of ours is a joint confirmation retreat to kick off the year.  Schedule planned.  Details on paper.  Calendars filled out.  Super productive.
This isn’t the first time a day of planning has been a highlight.  Check out this post, a blast from the past of over two years ago.  I just get giddy with excitement about long-term planning with other people who are also excited about ministry possibilities. 
Right.  So let’s think about why this call might not be a great fit in the long run for Pastor Lindsay … but for now, here’s to continuing big picture thinking and making time for visioning with adjunct staff.  PL needs that.

best best best friend.

21 Jun
I had dinner plans again tonight.  
Last night it was with a group of women in their 60s and 70s.  
Tonight it was with a 6 year old.
If you look way back into the blog archives, you’ll find stories about my Dawson friend, Carter.  Carter was right around 4 when I was the intern at Grace and we struck up a friendship.  His parents were lovely enough to invite me over for dinners and play time throughout my year there.  [Mmm, salmon loaf.]  Luck would have it that Carter’s grandma and grandpa are my neighbors while I’m here at Red Oak Grove!  They live just down the road and since Carter is staying with them this week, they invited me over for dinner.  And legos. 
Carter was super excited to have me come over.  When I responded to the message they left me a few days ago, Carter was jumping up and down on the other end of the phone line.  I have to admit – I was pretty excited too.  We had fun!
I knocked on the door and I could hear him bounce down the stairs.  He swung open the door and gave me a giant hug.  We went on a gator ride and explored the farm.  We played legos and ate homemade pizza and talked about how crazy Pastor Kendall is.  Carter and I explored outside in corn fields and groves of trees.
We even formed a club.  It actually started like this –
I have a club, Carter said.  But you can’t be in it.
He then told me a little bit about his club and his friends in it.  I couldn’t be in it because I don’t live in Dawson.  But don’t worry – then we formed another club and we spent an hour dreaming about what the club would be about.  
You see, the club’s purpose was to collect sticks.  There was a special tree where we would collect them, and another special tree whose bark we would use to write secret club notes.  The club would be mostly for him and his cousins, but I could be an exception.  It would be called the fire club and the process of it all reminded me how fun imagination is.  It was super just to be outside exploring with this creative six year old, making stuff up as we went.  

I might have stayed a bit late because we were having so much fun and that might have led to Carter staying up a little past his bedtime.  I told Carter he could just blame me if his parents found out [Hi, Aaron and Sabrina.  Hope your cruise was awesome!  Don’t hate me for depriving your child of sleep!]  to which Carter said, No!  I would never blame you because you’re my best best best friend.
Aww, shucks.  Here’s to a fun and imaginative Thursday night with my best best best friend.

gospel messages.

4 Jun
I felt preached and ministered to twice on Sunday and neither was the sermon in worship.  [gasp.  yeah.  a pastor just said that.]  These were both gospel messages I needed to hear.  
The first was during worship.  If you are in the Dawson community, you know but if you’re not, you likely don’t know the talent and awesomeness of musicians at Grace.  Two of them together sang a song during the offering.  And not just any song – a song they wrote.  Deep gratitude to Jacob and Kelsey [who also happen to both be children of internship coworkers] for sharing this message and sharing their gift of words and music.  I needed to hear it.  I think my purpose needs a little realigning … but not necessarily by me.
The second time was just as I was leaving gnometown and saying my final goodbyes.  [It sounds like the bachelorette.  You did not get a rose.  Say your final goodbyes, says Chris Harrison every week.]  Sharon – who was the chair of my internship committee while I was at Grace – reads my blog and knows that it goes on spurts between depressing and super depressing.  She gave me a hug and then she said something to the tune of you are wonderful.  remember that.
I’m so keen on showing and telling everyone else that they are enough just as they are and created by God … but I often forget that applies to me too.  Sharon, in that graceful way, reminded me.  Another gospel messenger at just the right time.  Thank you, Sharon.  

vacation: post two.

4 Jun
I write from the crazy world of Joe & Amanda – a world filled with laughter, inside jokes, and quoting obscure youtube videos and snl clips.  I arrived around 8pm and we had a lovely dinner of lasagna followed by ice cream with homemade cookie dough [sans eggs] balls.  [Enter ball jokes here.  They ran amok.]  And there was coffee.  J&A sure know how to welcome a friend. 

 You should know that they are very hospitable people and always have been.  It’s even to the point where Joe checks under the guest bed for monsters before we turn in for the night.  He says he scared them away but if they come back, I’m supposed to go get him and he’ll get his monster spray.  Thanks, Joe.

This night in Sioux Falls comes after another lovely day in Dawson.  I worshipped at Grace [with tears in my eyes more than once – for missing the community and for the gift of simply being able to worship] and spent a long coffee hour chatting with Batman and his wife.  I had lunch at Kendall & Emily’s and spent a few hours with Karen and her family.  We went for a walk around Dawson and talked sewing.  Karen passed on an awesome book written by her sister-in-law.  I see summer projects in my future!
The last order of business in Dawson was one more graduation party.  Counting the table I shared with organist Chris at the party, I connected with every one of my wonderful coworkers from internship this day, plus many more awesome congregation members.  There were more hugs.  More come back soon!  More wonderful gnome support.  It’s still hard to leave but I was so thankful for the opportunity to visit, even if so shortly.  There’s no place like gnometown.

vacation: post one.

3 Jun
Vacation is here and it’s wonderful.  [I’m choosing to temporarily not address the fact that a member passed away last night and I have funeral details to figure out for a Saturday funeral.  Eventually, I will have to address it … but it can wait until Monday.] Here’s the play-by-play so far –

I dropped Mabel off at her favorite home-away-from-home and home for the next week – Camp Canine Kennels – and headed for Golden Valley to the wedding of Frank and Kate.  It was super fun to reconnect with seminary friends I hadn’t seen lately both at the church and at the reception that followed at a local park.  Super low key and chill.  [I’m taking notes if I ever get married.  Low key = great.]
Following the wedding and reception, I spent the evening with gal pal, Sara, and her boyfriend, Josh, at their new house.  We ate at a local malt shop in Chaska, chatted with the neighbors, and introduced Josh to Carcassonne, the dorky German boardgame.  [During which he called his meeples “meatballs.”  We let it pass; it was mildly humorous.]  An episode of The Office, overnight oatmeal in the crockpot, and a little local antiquing was all part of the fun and frolic too.  [I bought a window for $12.  Don’t laugh; it’s cool.]  A little shopping at Gander Mountain and Punch pizza rounded out our time together.  It was lovely.

I left Chaska and drove west in lovely weather to the town near and dear to my heart.  I always tear up a little bit when I drive into Dawson; this town and its people have been so good to me.  Two sons of coworkers from my year of internship are graduating from high school and it made a perfect excuse to visit.  The first party was this evening and it was super fun to catch up with so many people. I’m going to attend worship at Grace tomorrow morning and stick around for the second of the two graduation parties.  It’s so great to be here.  I’m spoiled by all the hugs.  [Seriously.  I love seeing these people for so many reasons but one of the big ones is the hugs.  Love it.  Love them.]
We’ll round out leg one of the vacation with an overnight in Sioux Falls tomorrow night [a two hour drive from Dawson] with Joe and Amanda.  They always know how to keep things interesting and keep me laughing; I’m looking forward to it!  It will lead to three different beds in three nights.  One could say some pretty crude jokes about that but really what it means is that I’m blessed to have so many friends in so many different places … and they’re willing to let me sleep over.  Grateful this girl is.

BP vs. DB

19 Nov
I went to the semi-final football playoff game at the Metrodome today.  Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks vs. Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms.  While I sat on the side of the team where I now reside, deep down I cheered for the team across the stadium.  Talk about conflicting loyalties.

It’s not that Blooming Prairie isn’t awesome or that their team didn’t deserve to win.  They have worked extremely hard and have had a great season.  They’ve broken records and the town united over the team going to state.  They’re awesome and great and are made up of wonderful kids.  Totally.
Maybe there is something to be said that the amount of my life spent in Dawson at this point still outnumbers the amount of time I’ve spent in the Blooming community.  There’s probably something to be said that my coworkers at Grace who remain dear friends all have kids who play on the team.  There’s likely also something about my own safety, after receiving threatening text messages about my allegiance to DB.  [one guess who was behind those]  Nothing against Blooming Prairie but my connections with Dawson are what they are.
I also think this – there is so much truth in this article, written about the small town pride of Dawson, that has to do with why part of my heart still resides in Gnometown.  There is just something about Dawson … 
Congrats to the DB football team as they advance to the final state game next Friday at the metrodome again.  Likely another week of nerves and excitement for that small town with such a big heart; a heart worn on the sleeves of Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks apparel.  
[ … so I’m fairly certain I can still legally and without consequence write such posts because no one from my new congregation reads this.  To my knowledge anyways.  None of them are friends with me on facebook so I don’t know how they would have ever come across it.  If there are any BP fans reading and I offended … well, let’s talk.]

happy birthday!

31 Aug

Happy birthday to you/happy birthday to you/happy birthday dear BLOG/happy birthday to you!

My blog baby – there’s no place like gnome at – turns two today!  Two!  Put on your 3D glasses and party hats and you could come celebrate with this dork on the left!

[I forgot to remember to celebrate her birthday last year.  what a bad blog host am I.]

Two years ago to this day was the summer night that I arrived in Dawson for my year-long internship.  [Here is the first ever post on gnomepreacher.]  The intern committee had helped me move into my apartment and taken me out for dinner.  I returned to my home-to-be for that year – oh, parkview apartments – and [dramatic pause] began to blog.  Gnomepreacher was born out of dreams to communicate with family and friends in Wisconsin while I lived on the prairie for a year, but she’s grown into a lot more.  
Since then, the blog has been with me through thick and thin.  It has shared with you joys and sorrows, losses and gains; many corny videos and even more gnome stories.  A trip to Alaska, friendly tales of polar plunges, and transitions aplenty.  Cakepops, macarons, and hamballs. The blog – through story and the infinite interweb – has connected me to people in strange and really wonderful ways.  
Blogging is never a chore for me.  It’s not unusual that when I’m away from my computer, I’ll write posts in my head, some of which are published, others of which are not.  I feel grounded in my writing and in the sharing.  If there is a day or – gasp! – three when I don’t blog, it feels like something is missing.  I love doing this.
Once more, I thank you for reading.  Even when I forget to say thank you, know that I’m grateful that you share in this with me. You share in and take interest in the stories I live and write.  If I were not in the middle of moving and packing, I might have yelled cakepops for all!  But I am moving and packing [or at least am supposed to be]… so not really.  Cakepop false alarm.  
Happy birthday, blog.  To many more.

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