Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Five ~ De-clutter Edition

RevGal friend Sally writes about her twins moving off to college and the resulting sorting, packing and recycling:

"Making the most of our resources is important. I have been challenged this week by the amount of stuff we accumulate. I'd love to live a simpler lifestyle, it would be good for me, and for the environment I think...With that in mind I bring you this Friday 5:"

1. Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?

I'm hardly a minimalist, although I would like to be more of one. I love my knick knacks. However, I do a pretty good job of getting rid of stuff I no longer want / need / like. Church fairs and tag sales help in that regard. There is always somewhere to bring those unwanted items. (As long as they weren't gifts from parishioners!)

2. Name one important object (could be an heirloom) that you will never part with.

This is a hard question to answer. My first thought is my photos. I always think my photos would be the first thing I would grab (if i could) if the house caught on fire. (Okay, I'd probably grab the cat and dog first). I also love the quilts that both of my grandmothers made and my grandfather's oil paintings. Then there are the stuffed animals I love from my childhood.... I could go on and on.

3. What is the oldest item in your closet? Does it still fit???

I'm pretty sure I still have a sweatshirt from my Junior High years. (Twenty years ago... yikes!) Yes. It still fits.

4.Yard sales- love 'em or hate 'em ?

I hate yard sales. I don't particularly like going to yard sales and I really hate hosting yard sales. I much prefer to give my stuff away to Goodwill or church fairs and let other people deal with it!

5. Name a recycling habit you really want to get into.

I probably just need to take greater advantage of the recycling opportunities already available. I'm still looking for a place to recycle some old batteries. Any ideas?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Change ~ No Thanks!

Okay. I admit it. I don't like change. In fact most everyone who knows me knows I'm not crazy about change. I cried on my eighth birthday because I didn't want to be eight. I liked being seven just fine, thank you very much. When my parents would get a new car I would miss the old one. Recently my father sold the old "Scamper Camper" we had enjoyed so much when I was a kid. He didn't tell me about selling it until after the fact because he knew I would protest.

As an adult I've had to get better about dealing with change. Going to school, moving and serving churches has required quite a bit of change in my life over the past few years. Marrying and becoming a step-mom has required even more change! Yet this fall I'm being pushed to my limit. New worship schedule and new Sunday School programs have prompted quite a bit of angst. (Sleepless nights. Anxiety dreams) I know the change is good for the church, but its taking it's toll on me.

Yet we are a people of change. I am a person of change. Christians are a people who don't (or shouldn't) accept the status quo. Caroline Westerhoff writes in her book Good Fences, "We Christians claim our identity as threshold people every time we make that assertion about Christ's dying and rising and coming back again." Christ didn't die and rise again just so we could keep doing things the way we always had. Standing at the threshold of these changes, I think I'm about ready to take the plunge and see what happens. Even if I'm not ready, I'm going to have to do it! Just like with turning eight there's no stopping it. Ready or not... here change comes!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

How do I know it's fall? Yes, the trees are beginning to turn and the air is crisp, but the most telltale sign of fall is all the meetings. I've come to that time of year when a night without meetings seems weird. Trustees, SPRC, Finance, Stewardship, Nominations.... they have all reconvened and there is much work to be done. With most meetings at 7:00pm, Gary and I have just enough time to sit down for dinner before I have to rush out the door. By the time I get home I'm ready to fall into bed!

While all the evening meetings are exhausting, I do celebrate the hectic pace of the fall because it means that our church is active and busy. During most of our meetings we manage to accomplish something and send folks out to "do good things" before we meet again. It is much easier to go to a meeting where things actually get done than to go to a meeting only to rehash what was talked about for the past six months.

Tonight is one of those weird nights when I get to go home, relax, put on my sweats and enjoy some time with my wonderfully understanding husband. I plan to really enjoy it, savor it in fact, since next week I'll be mostly on the run.... Youth Group, UMW, Stewardship, Worship Team... oh yeah, and the couple that want to have their baby baptized.

In fact, I think I'll get going right now! Even blogging takes a back seat to some much needed R & R this time of year.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Holy Spirit

She was certainly invited, but her RSVP must've gotten lost in the mail. I was anxious that she wouldn't show and our promise of 'Spirit Sunday' would turn out to be a misnomer. She tried to reassure me, although I didn't quite catch on at the time. That dream I had, reminding me that no matter how much I plan all really is out of my control, should have been a clue. Why don't I ever trust that she will take care of everything, as she always does?

In the end she showed up. In fact she got there early and stayed late. Everyone reveled in her presence. Children played. Adults laughed. Hamburgers and hot dogs multiplied and fed all the guests. The glory of God was made known in those moments. I'll try to remember for next time that, as far as she is concerned, no RSVP necessary.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Thank you Miss Potter

I just finished watching the wonderful movie Miss Potter. In addition to learning much about the life of Beatrix Potter, it brought back many wonderful memories of Miss Potter's friends. Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail and Peter were my friends too! My mother collected all things Beatrix Potter. Sometimes I would stand in front of her hutch full of Beatrix Potter figurines just to look at them. I even have a Peter Rabbit dish towel hanging on my oven handle today.

The best thing about the movie was seeing what a strong woman Beatrix was, especially in her day. She was unconventional and independent. She was a woman ahead of her time. Maybe that is why her stories continue to captivate audiences around the world. Thank you, Miss Potter, for welcoming us into your world and giving us a wonderful example of a life well lived.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Taking Wonder and Delight!

At Pastor's Assembly much of the conversation revolved around how to stay fresh and re-freshed in ministry. One question we were asked was, "Who do you respect and why?" The first person that came to mind was my Gram. Gram always took delight in nature ~ everything from the smallest flowers at the side of the road to the beauty of the grandest landscape. I remember one night laying out under the stars watching a meteor shower with her and a friend of mine. My friend thought it was pretty neat that my grandmother would get up in the middle of the night to lay on the grass and watch shooting stars. Thinking back on it, I think it is pretty neat, too.

One way I stay refreshed in ministry is by taking the time to appreciate God's creation. Yet, when things get too busy, it is easy to let the wonder of the world go unnoticed. That wasn't the case during my hike up to Bald Knob. Here are a couple pictures which will hopefully keep the memory fresh in my mind.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Leading Causes of Life

Days Off
Ice Cream (in moderation)
Being Silly

This is what I learned last week at Pastor's Assembly. Instead of focusing on all those things that are 'killing' us, we focused on what keeps us healthy ~ what leads us to life! In that spirit, I hiked up to Bald Knob with a group of clergy and their families. After about an hour of scrambling over the rocks we took in a beautiful view of Lake Winniepesaukee. God sustains the birds and the trees and the chipmunks and the fish and the snakes and us... what an amazing thought! Thank you, God, for leading us not to death, but to life!