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life in MT.

29 Jan

[Life in MT.]

that awkward moment –

28 Jan

[that awkward moment-] when you see that guy you used to email until you gave some lame excuse to stop because you thought you’d never see him face-to-face.

Let this be a lesson to all of us.

Of all my friends, Melissa is one of the most supportive of my desire to end my stylishly single lifestyle [shout out to Denise for that term] and the one most actively involved in helping that happen.  That being said, last year she scoured northeast Montana for available men.  She passed my email onto one said man and hoped I didn’t mind.

Gustav* and I emailed back and forth for a short while.  But I didn’t have a clue about what I was doing.  I didn’t know what could ever come of it.  He lived in Montana; I live in Minnesota.  There were a few other quirky things that I probably should have just let go of and not factored into my decision.  [I mean, Jef with one F from last season of the Bachelorette proved that adult men who skateboard can be cool.]  I didn’t want to lead him on or anything.  Admittedly, I was probably not the most concise or polite person when it came to that last email.

I’d nearly completely forgotten about Gustav with one V until I was on the train to Montana and I told Paige about it.  And then it all came screeching back again when we walked into church on Sunday morning.  There was a gentleman in the front row that could possibly be familiar to the photos we’d exchanged.

Shit.  Could it be?

We sat down across the aisle.  I leaned over to Melissa.  “Remember when I emailed that guy?”  There was a slight pause, she smirked, and said, “Yeah.  Gustav.  He’s sitting right there.

Double shit.

Who knows if he even remembered that one friend of his pastor’s with whom he shared his passion for skateboarding so many months ago?  That pastor from MN who now feels guilty and shallow and mean about how she may have acted a year and a half ago.  To his credit, he seemed very polite and nice and crossed the aisle to share the peace with us.  He was wearing shorts in the middle of winter but I can’t dock him for that; I knew another great man who did the same.

* name has been changed.

Hello from MT!

27 Jan

[Hello from MT!] Above photo credit due to Rev. Paige who tried diligently today to get the perfect panoramic photo of big sky country.

Paige and I made it to the grand state of Montana yesterday afternoon. We were greeted by twin girls and their parents. Once we retrieved our luggage from a wagon [literally – a wagon pulled by an ATV] we were off and thankful to no longer be on a train.

While we can credit the train with safely getting us to our destination of Havre, MT, train travel is not nearly as glorious as I dreamed it would be. Our first clue should have been the AMTRAK station in St.Paul, where there are signs hung on the walls with duck tape. The next sixteen hours would be tolerable, but would not rank high on the scale of enjoyable.

We got on the train at midnight and found sleep hard to achieve. The seats were hard. Our foot rests didn’t work properly. I tried a round of trying to sleep on the floor and while I was able to sleep, I feel like my back paid for it in pain. Once the sun came up, things became a bit more glamorous. We ate breakfast in the dining car and hung out in the observation car. Paige was smart and had loaded a few things to watch on her iPad; we watched those. We met fun people, including Rhonda, a train employee from Chicago, who gave wonderful announcements over the loud speaker about sinks clogging in the restrooms.

Glorious or not, we are happy to be in MT. So far our time with Joel, Melissa, Hannah, and Harper has included supper at a diner and grocery shopping; a walking tour of Big Sandy and enjoying the sunshine; watching television and Pitch Perfect; and holding, feeding, and loving two little two-month olds. The next three days may be more of the same with some church, scones, and the Bachelor thrown in, which all sounds very well and good to me.

On the road. Again.

24 Jan

[On the road.  Again.]  Mabel and I arrived back in Austin early this afternoon after many fun and relaxing days in Wisconsin.  It was great to see family, celebrate a wedding with dear friends, and relax in Mom’s new house.  It was good.

From here, it’s a mess of unpacking, laundry, and repacking as I now prep for the second leg of this vacation – Montana.  I drop Mabel off at the kennel at 5 and then Paige & I are bound for the cities.  Our train leaves the St.Paul station tonight at 11:15.  We should arrive in Havre, MT shortly after lunch tomorrow.

Turns out packing is hard.  Trying to figure out what comes with me, what gets stowed below is tough this time.  My dining room floor is currently the middle of the game what-to-pack-and-where-to-pack-it.  I’ll figure it out.  Eventually.  Likely leaving something rather important behind.  But so it goes.

We’re in Montana thru next Wednesday when we hop on the train to return home. It will be a great couple of days spent with Joel, Melissa, and their baby girls.  The last time I was in Montana visiting them was on my way to Alaska two summers ago.  They were my place to rest the second night into my trip.  It was fun to stop and see them then; I have no doubt it will be even more fun this time around, especially with a Paige, a Hannah, and a Harper happily in the mix this time!

great love involves great risk.

22 Jan

[great love involves great risk.]  One of the readings that Kay and Peter chose for their wedding ceremony was from the Dalai Lama.  I simply cannot get it out of my head.  I love it.  I’m sharing it with all of you.

Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

And that a loving atmosphere in your home

is the foundation for your life.

Be gentle with the earth,

be gentle with one another.

When disagreements come

remember always to protect the spirit of your union.

When you realize you’ve made a mistake,

take immediate steps to correct it.

Remember that the best relationship is one

in which your love for each other

exceeds your need for each other.

So love yourselves, love one another,

love all that is your life together

and all else will follow.

A Banana Wedding.

20 Jan

[A Banana Wedding.]  Are you finding this blog okay?  Are you adjusting to the switch?  I dearly hope so because one of the fun reasons I switched is to write a post like this – a gallery of photos!  [Click on one photo to scroll through the rest.  How fun!]

These are photos from one of the most sincere, most laid back, most fun and non-traditional weddings I’ve been a part of to date.  Congrats to banana Kay and Peter who both seem so incredibly happy!  [For those interested in the inside details of the Dancing Banana bunch, the banana dance was also performed.  We stood surrounding Peter, sang, danced, mashed, and thereby inducted him into the Banana group as an H. Banana.  Husband/honorary Banana, that is.]

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.

a thankful november: the three musketeers.

6 Nov
I’ve been gone.  Fall theological convention in Onalaska, WI, baby!  It’s a crazy time.  You might want to disagree.  A theological convention for pastors is crazy?  I don’t lie.  There were hot tub parties, dinners with crazy travel stories, Spotted Cow, and lots of laughs. 
I went with jD and Paige.  Are you surprised?
The synod staff sitting at the registration table wasn’t.  Here come the three musketeers, they chimed as we slipped on our nametags.  They had fun-size three musketeer bars on the registration table.  We each ate one.  It was fitting.  Then jD and I drank a Spotted Cow while Paige drank a cranberry juice.  Also fitting.
I really couldn’t imagine a fall theological convention without them.  In our last year here, we’ve made some new friends too; we weren’t an exclusive group of three musketeers [or the newly labeled kkk – kool kids klub].  We had a crazy late night in our friend, Karen’s, room, discussing the red flannel decor and the fact that I never smile.*   We went out to supper at Piggy’s in downtown LaCrosse with a large group of pastor friends.  The Sunday afternoon through Tuesday morning requirement went by fast.  A car ride home with a game of spill-your-guts:what-don’t-we-know-about-each-other ended the adventure.
I’m thankful for my fellow musketeers [and their families].  Without them, fall theological would be much more work, less fun, and life in ministry would simply be more difficult and lonely.  
We texted this photo to jD to give him a clue to our whereabouts.  His response?  Where the hell are you?  Exactly.

* I was told to smile! in passing once more at the conference.  Strangers, synodical ministers, friends, you name it.  I apparently walk around with a frown on my face.

[summer list.]

23 Jun
I know this summer will speed on by; it always does.

Heck, June is almost over as it is! In the hustle and bustle, I’m attempting to make the most of it.

That means it’s list time, people.  And it’s all about rest, rediscovery, and joy.

. I have a state park pass in my window.  I shall use it.  Mabel and I can go hiking.  [We were going to explore Myre Big Island State Park this morning but then it was overcast with rain.  Another time soon.]
. Screw makeup.  I’m hiding away all my eyeshadows and eyeliners and bronzers and everything else.  Why do I spend time doing all that?  [I will still put on a protective layer of foundation.  It has sunscreen in it, people.  And maybe a little mascara.]  On a similar note, find the easiest, low maintenance hair style ever.  I think my haircut on Friday may have helped in this department.  [Short in the back!]
. Perfect the overnight refrigerator oatmeal breakfast.  Six individual servings in canning jars in the fridge now.  With strawberries!  [Old fashioned oats.  Almond milk.  Strawberries.  That’s it.]
. Drink water, drink water, drink water.  And iced coffee.
. Always be crafty and re-inventive.  Some things need new life.  [I spray painted a file cabinet today – avocado green with hopeful gray chevron drawers to be yet achieved and fabric yet to be found.]
. Sermons written by Thursday.  [I know.  I say that all the time but this time, there is motivation.  Paige made a bet with the devil and I hope to help her lose.  Two week success so far and it’s such a joy to not be writing on Saturday night.]

. Find and embrace Sabbath time.  We all need that.  Often more than we even know until we take it.

. Get out of town!  Opportunities for this and places tbd.  [With the exception of Stillwater next weekend already on the calendar.  Gieseke B&B bound!]

. Find myself in a canoe or kayak on the water as often as time will allow.  [Finding a man with a Subaru Outback and two kayaks strapped to the top would be a great alternative to this, but I’m not holding my breath.]

. Learn to let things be.  I’m pulling back on pushing certain church work things through … maybe they just need to be instead of pushed.  There are other things on which I can spend my time.

. Read.  I already feel this being a huge stress relief at work, as I made time each day this past week.

There’s more.  There’s always more.  But this is a good place to begin.

I’ll keep you posted [as always].

introvert.

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.
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