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The Stolen’s Museum.

15 May

I went home this past Sunday for one quick night after a full weekend of work and a busy Sunday morning.  I went home to join my family at Geep’s.  We gathered at Grandpa Sid’s house to clean it out.  It was not the ideal way to spend time together, going thru Grandpa’s cabinets and out buildings and packing up boxes.  Not ideal at all but we found some fun moments in the midst of it.

Grandpa Sid labeled everything.  Everything.  Need a broom?  Naturally, it’s hanging on a nail that above it in pencil is written BROOM on the wall.  A key?  It’s on a nail with the word KEY written and circled above it.  Wonder what that light switch turns on?  It’s probably labeled.

Need a hammer?  No need to label those by writing on the wall because they were located every five yards.  I bet we found thirty hammers.  Hammers everywhere.  Never more than a few steps from anywhere.  I talked to the Alaska brother, Ben, on the phone the day after and he asked how it went, not being able to be there himself since he was – you know – in the arctic.  We found a lot of hammers, I said.  I bet you did, he chuckled.  It really was no surprise.

What else did we find?  Admission prices to the Stolen’s Museum.  See, the garage/shed on my Grandpa’s property used to house, oh, 30-some restored gas pumps and old, classic tractors.  I actually invited one of my school classes there for a field trip one year in elementary school.  There were also vintage cream separators and classic metal gasoline and tobacco signs.  It was very nearly an actual museum.  According to the perfect printing in the cement on the floor of the museum – done by one father, John, who wrote in all pieces of wet cement – it was closed on Sundays.  And now it’s nearly empty.

I picked rhubarb from Grandpa’s patch and came home with a china set of Grandma’s.  [A pattern of china which, oddly enough, I drank coffee from on a home visit today.  I’d never seen the pattern before Sunday and now it seems to be stalking me.]  I think my Grandma would be happy to know that her Pyrex bowls will continue to live on in my kitchen, and that the mason jars from the cellar are finding new homes too.

It still is indeed sad to think that I may never again set foot on that property.  I’ve known it all my life.  I would walk down the waterway and across the creek to visit and steal fudgesicles from the freezer in the summer.  As us kids got older, we would ride our bikes around the block and Grandma and Grandpa’s was always our stop for water before we attempted to ride up the hill home again. It’s the porch on which I placed a May Day basket on many a May 1st, and the kitchen table at which I chatted with Grandpa over an open atlas.  And there was always a hammer available when you needed one.

Dear Lindsay of middle school,

24 Apr

As a pastor who loves working with confirmation-aged kids, I catch glimpses of my own past middle school experience as the confirmation kids share their own experiences.  I slightly remember* what it was like to be awkward and a seventh grader.  It wasn’t easy.

I was so incredibly lucky to have awesome friends.  More or less the same awesome friends I still have now.  [Dancing Banana shout-out!]  But there was still drama.  There was judging.  There is terrible shit that goes on in middle schools.  And I can’t imagine it if one doesn’t have awesome friends.

There are a couple gals in my confirmation class that often only have lows to share in the rounds of highs & lows.  A lot of time, those lows are there’s just lots of drama at school.

Ugh.  Drama.

What I want to say to them is much like what I would say to my own middle-school self –

Dear Lindsay of middle school,

Being popular doesn’t matter for shit.  Forget those queen bees.  They suck.  You should just be nice to everyone.  [And probably not say people suck.  That wasn’t nice, future Lindsay.]

Be friends with the people who make you happy and people with whom you can be yourself and silly.  Form a gang.  Call it Oatmeal.  Make cardboard necklaces for everyone in the gang with raw oats glued to them.  Your name as gang leader shall be Raisin. **

The boys are pretty cute, aren’t they?  But don’t worry about them.  Just because they’re eye candy doesn’t mean they’re worth crying over.

School work is important but trying to get straight A’s isn’t worth sick stomachs and sleepless nights.  And hey – good job on that newspaper writing competition.

Please, quit wearing the over-sized flannel shirts and carpenter jeans sooner than later.

That one day, after school, when marching band rehearsal gets out late and everyone sprints back to the band room – hold onto your flute a little tighter.  Trust me.

The drama will end.  It will be okay.

Signed,

Future Lindsay

I started to write this post before confirmation met tonight.  I finish it after confirmation.  After the one confirmand who-never-has-a-high-and-her-low-is-always-drama had a high that the drama has ended.  Hallelujah.  Confirmation was awesome tonight.  Not only did every seventh and eighth grader have a high – if not many – we threw out our lesson for the night because all they wanted to do was ask questions.  About God.  About the Bible.  About doubts.  We tackled a few tonight the best we could and they made a list for next week.  Here’s to the freedom to ask questions and doubt in church.  Important stuff.

* I quite literally remember NOTHING about my seventh grade year.  It’s a blur to me.  I remember some of sixth grade and some of eight but seventh?  Nada.

** True story.

Connections.

27 Mar

This post begins with the connection between Rachel Held Evans and Henri Nouwen.

That sentence might make you say who?  Rachel Held Evans is the theologian and author of the book I quoted just a while ago on the blog.  Henri Nouwen was a theologian and priest; an author of many, many books, one of which I too just quoted a bit ago here.  I follow Rachel on twitter and read her blog.  I have more than a couple Nouwen books on my shelves and I pull them out from time to time; I find them full of enriching nuggets of faith and comfort.

This week, these two separate worlds collided in a super meaningful way.  I clicked on a tweet from Rachel with a link to her recent blog post; she’s been facilitating a discussion on gay marriage on her blog and using two separate books to guide the conversation. Both books are by gay men of faith but while one has chosen celibacy, the other believes a relationship with another man could be blessed by God.  [Curious more?  Here is the post of which I speak.]

Here is where my mind was blown: one of the books Rachel uses speaks of dear Mr. Nouwen at length.  I did not know that Nouwen was gay; heck, I didn’t even know that he was a priest before I began to eavesdrop on this conversation.  I knew that I loved his writing and that was about it.  But now, as it turns out, I love it more because I can relate to the places from which it comes.

Henri Nouwen was lonely.  He wrestled intensely with loneliness, persistent cravings for affection and attention, immobilizing fears of rejection, and a restless desire to find a home where he could feel safe and cared for. [p. 87]  To quote Rachel who quotes the book which quotes Philip Yancey –

Nouwen, who later in life confessed that he had known since he was six years old that he was attracted to members of his own sex, would, in lectures and books, “speak of the strength he gained from living in community, then drive to a friend’s house, wake him up at two in the morning, and, sobbing, ask to be held.”

Now granted, I am fully aware that I am not a celibate gay priest [really?  really.], nor am I in the least  marginalized because of my sexual orientation, but gosh, to some degree, I can relate to that.

I have begun the very healthy and wise practice of seeing a counselor.  We’ve only met twice but I can see why people do this.  It will be fruitful.  Just this last time we met, I was talking about something or other and her response to me was, It sounds like you’re lonely.  Bingo.

I’m still not super sure what to do about that besides – for some insane reason – choosing to be super vulnerable with the world and spill it on the blog.  [As if you didn’t already know.]  Knowing what I do about Henri Nouwen and as I google search and order his biography to learn more, I find myself drawn to his writing in deeper ways.  There are perhaps some other life changes looming on my horizon, too. I realize that I need to facilitate the move from being lonely; I think I’m working on it.  We’ll see where life takes me; hopefully in the direction of community, new friends, and a world of less lonely.

Hey. It’s the favorites of Friday.

22 Mar

[Hey.  It’s the favorites of Friday.]

Favorite tea: Apple cinnamon.   It’s now part of my bedtime routine.  Tea + a chapter of Pride and Prejudice.

Favorite blog post: This post is by the former pastor at my home congregation.  It resonated with me and where I’m at currently.   Worship is a contact sport.  I probably wouldn’t be a pastor if Pastor Clint hadn’t nominated me for a scholarship at seminary … before I ever said I would even go to seminary.  Funny how that worked.

Favorite craft: It’s quite nearly Easter.  I love Easter.  Loved it since I was a child.  [Fun Lindsay fact #396: I used to host “Easter parties” at the farm for my friends.  I would plan elaborate Easter games and my brothers & cousins would hide Easter eggs for us to find, usually under dead birds or with the candy switched mysteriously for dog poop.]  Sadly, I have little energy or people with whom to have Easter parties these days … but if I did, we might dye eggs in these trendy ways.

Favorite story: I visited a gentleman at the care center.  I was getting ready to leave, shook his hand, and told him I should be on my way.  Good, he said.  I was going to ask you to leave because I have to pee.  Perfect timing.

Favorite pin: A quote from Lemony Snicket.

Favorite videos: This Sunday is Palm Sunday.  Prepare yourself for Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem with these two videos.  Please.  They’re awesome.

This video was made in part by the talents [both media and harlem shaking as Jesus] by Kevin, the brother to my bestie, Sara, and a former coworker of mine from Stillwater.  We shared a basement office with no windows together.

Nothing like a little liturgical dance by Stephen Colbert. 

the curse of two.

11 Nov
Number two.
[no.  not that.]
Enneagram number two.
The enneagram is a personality system.  Nine numbers, each with different manners of thinking, living, and acting in life. I find both comfort and challenge in knowing my enneagram and being able to see the ways I feel and live through that lens. 
I’m a two.  A giver/helper.  And one cursed to always feel like I’m disappointing other people and foregoing my own needs to be in service to others.
In ministry, this has its place.  Definitely.  But lately, I’m feeling more how it drains and consumes me.
I hit a certain low today.  It’s my day off and I can’t help but feel all the ways I’ve failed/let people down this week.  It didn’t help any that work called me away to a conference for two of my workdays [which was a good thing until the stress of today].  I didn’t return the rake to the proper custodian closet and he had to go get it himself.  I should have called about the microphone issues we’re having earlier in the week instead of scrambling to fix it on Thursday, perhaps now facing a Sunday without my microphone in working order.  I didn’t make any visits this week and upon discovery of the previous pastor’s milage reports in the file cabinet today, I find he visited at least one person a day.  Things that have been on my to-do list for weeks still remain, consistently being pushed further back.  It’s my day off but I’m spending it doing everything I think I should have done earlier so I won’t let anyone else down.
And really – have I let anyone down?  No one has told me such.  But that’s what I sense.  That’s what I feel I know.  I have this fear that I’m not living up to the congregation’s expectations of a pastor.  I need counseling.  [Seriously.  I will be exploring the avenue of counseling as soon as I figure out how to find someone in my health care network.  The synod encourages us as pastors to find a counselor.]  I don’t hear much positive feedback [except that I have great children’s sermons] so I’m always wondering where I really stand.  [So, naturally, I think they don’t like me when in actuality, maybe they’re simply not vocalizing what they’re thinking.  Apparently I crave feedback.]
I’ve heard again and again from other new pastors that in the first year I must be patient with myself.  I need to give myself grace and remind myself that I’m always learning.  But do I really need to face a whole first year of feelings like this?  I sure hope not because that would suck.  [I should also add that I realize this is not an exclusive number two issue, but it’s how I can easily put into words my own issues.]
*over-exaggerated sigh*  So that’s my current emotional state.  Please excuse me now while I eat a bowl of chili [mmm.  with noodles.  comfort food.], begin a Harry Potter night of both Deathly Hallows films [#2 was released today.], and exercise the self-care I have lacked so far today.  [Another facet of the two: two’s will often care for others and their own needs remain unmet.  That’s not good either.]  
I’m trying and trying to do my best.  That’s all I can do.  [Right?]

ps. I blogged here again today.  And I’m thankful for you.

to rochester and back.

15 Sep
Forgetting the fact that I need to walk home [across the parking lot] and write two sermons, today was a good day.  A good, good day and positive ending to – frankly – a crappy week.
I’ve felt completely under water this week.  Completely.  No way around it – transition is hard.  I finally broke yesterday and cried in Marilyn’s office.  While part of me shames myself for showing such emotion, people should know that I’m not a rock.  I’m not void of feeling.  I cry too.  And so the church admin assistant now knows.
Today was a good day likely because I let myself breathe and it was a day of reflection.  [In a phone call I just made to another local pastor, she reminded me that I must take time to process and reflect.  That, in itself, is a way of working and necessary, especially as an internal processor.]  I picked jD and Paige up in Owatonna at 8am this morning and we headed to the synod offices in Rochester for a first-call theological event.  Today’s topic: taxes and pensions.  [Just knowing that makes you wish you were there, right?]  It was actually quite interesting and good stuff to learn in these first couple weeks.  
But really, what was awesome about the day was the conversation to and from and the conversation there.    The southeastern MN synod staff is beyond awesome, and the other first-call colleagues seem pretty top drawer too.  Bishop Huck led us in devotions and during that time, I felt my anxiety melt.  He has such a way of speaking and of comfort that those were words of gospel I needed to hear.  He reminded us that we don’t need to have all the answers.  Thank you.
Delicious red pepper soup for lunch and more laughing and conversation with colleagues was great.  Paige and I also signed up for the Bishop’s Open.  Yes, a golf tournament.  We’re not going to golf but rather put our names in to be caddies.  We’re not sure they will accept us as caddies but we think it will be a fun place to be on Monday, September 26th.  It’s an event only for clergy, hosted by the bishop, so it will be a day of collegiality and dinner if nothing else.  jD is going to do it too but I think he’ll actually golf.  The synod must think the three of us go everywhere and do everything together.  [I celebrate that fact!]  We should probably have a gang name.
Speaking of our gang, it seems jD and Paige have also met some young morticians in their local funeral homes.  Plans of a new pastor and mortician game night are in the works.  Pastors and funeral people make great friends, or so I’m told.

so far.

9 Sep
Since we last met, things have been crazy and calm, both awesome and overwhelming.  I spent Wednesday and Thursday mainly in the office, getting a handle on a few more things, meeting the people who stopped by, and going to a WELCA meeting.  I met jD for lunch at The Roost Cafe in Blooming Prairie [owned by Beth, a self-labeled liberal Catholic, who is all around pretty awesome] and received a tour of the care center in Blooming, where a handful of ROG [Red Oak Grove] members live.  I started to work on the sermon for Sunday, and waded my way through worship planning using the green book.  [The green book is secret Lutheran code for the green hymnal that sits in church pews.  There is also an updated cranberry book – the latest Lutheran hymnal.  We do not have this in our pews.]  I visited a few members, gave the custodian more work to do [I kinda broke my office window.], and dined with the Dorcas circle at church last night.  I’ve kept busy.
Things are good.  People seem excited that I’m here and their pastor.  I received only one comment so far about my age.  [I was meeting ladies at the WELCA meeting, shaking their hands and introducing myself as they went through the line for lunch.  One woman shook my hand, not entirely sure who in the world I was or what I was doing until I said, “I’m Pastor Lindsay.”  “Oh, I wasn’t expecting someone so young!”]  I met two ladies at the independent/assisted living section of the care center yesterday, one of whom knew about me and of my friendship with jD.  You see, she’s the oldest living life-long member of ROG [not to be confused with the oldest member of ROG who is not a life-long member and married into the congregation] and she’s bff’s with the oldest member of one of jD’s church.  They talk on the phone every night, apparently about their pastors and who knows what else.  Oh for cute.  I love stories like that and women who talk on the phone with their best friends every night.
Between those visits and the opportunity to dine with and participate in Bible study with the Dorcas circle last night, I’m reminded why I do this.  It’s in times like those that the questions of what the heck am I doing?! and is this really right for me? disappear.  Here’s hoping Sunday morning is another one of those times.  You know me and worship leadership – nervous nelly.  We’ll see how this goes!

the internet and I meet again.

6 Sep
Hi.
I’m here!
But that doesn’t mean I have internet at my house or the church.  Let me rephrase –
I’m at Caribou!
It’s been too long and I need the connection … and to pay an online bill.
So, hey.  I moved to Austin!  As I mentioned last night in the mobile post [it was like writing the longest text of my life], congregation members graciously helped me move my life into my new home.  There were many points when I was embarassed at what they had to carry inside.  A. My dish tub of gnomes, topped off by the banana dog.  B. A pile of string.  [my hammock.  but they didn’t know.]  C. etc.  They were great and didn’t ask too many questions, nor did they ask me to leave on the spot.  They’ll learn I’m quirky.  It’s all part of my charm.  [Right?]  They left after getting me settled in with keys and a garage door opener, phone numbers on the fridge and requests to let them know if I need anything.  They’re taking good care of me.  
My family had to leave quite quickly after getting everything inside so I was left to unpack and bask in the square footage of a house that is far more than I currently need.  It’s wonderful.  I didn’t get too many boxes emptied before jD, Lauren, and Paige came over with pizza and beer.  I lack a kitchen table so we sat on the living floor and just talked about life, about how great it is that we are finally all together, and about Harry Potter robes.  Monday was more unpacking, shopping for the basics, and coffee with Mandy, Lori’s daughter who teaches and lives in Austin.  
Today, I went to the office.  [dramatic cue music]  More about that next.
No photos of my house yet – lo siento.  Know that the kitchen is a dream, the dining room is empty except for my gnomes that occupy the built-in curio cabinet [so serious], and the living room looks pretty pathetic too.  My craft room is coming together and my tiny upstairs bathroom is cute as a button.  My favorite thing about my house thus far?  No, not the freaky noises the ice maker makes at night.  I watch the sun rise over a corn field from my bedroom window [though I don’t always think this is so great at six in the morning] and watch it set over a corn field on the other side.  I’m surrounded by corn.   As long as I don’t think about the horror movies that take place in corn fields, I love it.

random stuff.

1 Sep
First, happy random stuff.

It’s my sister’s birthday today and the day she begins her first year of college classes!  Molly Bea and I set out through Target and the dollar store send to Emma the best box of stuff ever.  We filled that box to the max, wrapping each individual thing.  We’re talking gummy vitamins, a foam ax, grow-your-own-penguin, movie candy, a japanese doll bank, a book of baby names, birthday certificates [a pack of 24, each filled out from a different random name], birthday hats, glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs, a Justin Bieber notepad and more.  [Angel wings, pencils, toothpaste … you know.]  She loved it all.  [I also sewed her a laptop case; the diamond in the rough … if it fits.  I hope it fits!]  Happy birthday, Emma!

Second, too much random stuff.

I loathe packing.  I’m collecting all of my things in the empty garage stall.  Things from my bedroom, my brother’s bedroom [where much of my stuff has been stored] and the basement.  There’s still more to come.  Gross.  To top it off, I’m still not sure how I’m going to move.  There is talk of a uhaul, quotes from movers and … ugh.  [I had mentioned that a brother of a friend was going to help me … but now I feel like I’m taking advantage of him and I just don’t know.  It would also be nice to simply move it all at once and be done with it.  I throw my hands up in frustration.] It’s at times like this that I particularly wish I were married because my husband – naturally – would own a truck.  That would solve many of Lindsay’s problems but most pressing – the issue of how to move.  

overwhelmed.

29 Aug
I am feeling completely overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed to tears.  I’ll cry at the drop of a hat or the start of a certain song on the radio.   I’ve been feeling such for the last couple days.  I realize that writing on my blog is not going to help that overwhelmed feeling disappear but it might make me feel the tiniest bit better simply to write.  Writing for me is therapeutic like that.  
The overwhelmy-ness [new word?] stems from lots of different places.  From the stress of moving, the long to-do list, and the uncertainty of what my life will be like in the next month … in the next year.  From the thought of how crazy September will be, needing to rely on other people to help me [self-admitted control freak], and sneezing six times.  [literally, six times.  just now.  last time that happened, I popped a blood vessel in my eye.  true story.]  I don’t even know where to begin in this packing bit.  I’m still in this crazy place of unpacking from previous trips and needing to clean and repack and that makes the spacial and strategic part of my brain hurt.  [And not only repack, but pack in stages, knowing that all of my things will not be moved at once but over the course of a month.]  I suppose there is a time when I just simply have to begin.  I feel stress in certain relationships within my life and struggle to know where I stand in others.  I’m tired and have not been eating my vegetables.  
It seems the best way for me to combat this overwhelmed sense in life is to simply ignore everything that needs to be done.  
 This morning I visited with Grandma, returned books to the library [okay, that was on the to-do list] and checked out a few movies [watching movies is not on the to-do list].  I picked up Molly Bea and we set off for a bit of shopping.  Now sure, there were things I needed.  [a toaster.  batting for a sewing project.  conditioner.]  I could have done the trip in a little over an hour if I was strategic about it.  
Instead of being strategic, I was with Molly.  We were gone for close to four hours, spending far too much time in Target and having far too much fun in Jimmy John’s while reading 20,001 Baby Names.  
We carried this cloud of batting to the cut counter.  
I’d have had it no other way.  After stopping at the grocery store [for vegetables] and to chat with my gracious mover-man [a brother of my best friends from high school – he’s being entirely selfless and awesome to me by moving my furniture], I figure I was gone for six hours easy.  Now I’m home and writing this.  One of these days I’m going to need to address this thing called packing.  And some minor car repair.  And packages that need sending.  And a few phone calls and financial bits.  
I think I might take a nap.
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