Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Five ~ If I Had A Million Dollars Edition

RevGal Singing Owl writes, "My husband and I started musing (after watching "Deal or No Deal") about what we could do with a million dollars. I thought I'd just bring that discussion into the Friday Five this week. It's simple. What are five things you would want to do with a million dollar deposit in your bank account?"

First, just let me ask... What does it say about me that I just downloaded the Barenaked Ladies song by this name (If I Had A Million Dollars) as a ringtone for my iPhone?

Ok, here's my play:

First, I would share. What fun would it be to have some extra cash and not be able to spread it around? I would certainly want to give to my church / denomination, local community organizations that do good work, family and friends.

Second, I would save. It would be such a blessing not to have to worry about Ben's college and our retirement needs.

Third, I would buy a house. I wouldn't want anything fancy ~ just a nice, solid place that would build us some equity. Perhaps it could be a vacation house, of sorts, that could double as a future retirement home.

Fourth, I would get a brand new car. Something in red would be nice.

Fifth, I would splurge on an exotic vacation, a pair of Manolo Blahniks, and dinner at Cavey's. Cavey's is a local French restaurant and the word is that you can't dine there for less than $200. I've always wondered what it would be like!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Catching Up

It's been a while since I posted, so I'll try to catch up on a few things here:

1. My experience of Holy Week was truly a blessing. I hope the congregation felt the same way. We joined with North UMC for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services, both of which were very moving. I worked enough ahead that I was able to experience the week without being distracted by too many things to do.

2. Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Easter was exhausting, but in a good way. We stared the day with our Sunrise Gathering in the garden, followed by our two traditional services. Our 'big' service was packed which was great... but one has to wonder, "Where are these people the other 51 weeks of the year?" Oh well! Perhaps they will catch the Spirit and join us again soon.

3. At our Contemporary Service (our final morning service) we reflected on "Recognizing the Risen One" and talked about why Mary and the other disciples had difficulty recognizing Jesus after her was raised. At the end of the service we created a collage with images of where we recognize Christ today. For the next several weeks we will be in our "Becoming the Body of Christ" series and will expand our collage.

4. After a full day / week of worship we relaxed on Easter afternoon and went to the movies!

5. My clothing "fast" is going well. I am 11 days in to it! Only 354 more to go. It is interesting that I do seem to notice the sales and flyers more than I did before. Also, I got a Kohl's coupon for 20% off (can you believe it :>) and felt a little wistful. In the past I probably would've just tucked it in my desk and forgotten about it. But I am practicing being grateful for what I have rather than dwelling on what I think I want.... and I made my first contribution of underwear and socks (new, of course) to the Thrift Shoppe.

6. Nicky went to the vet and got a clean bill of health.... for an old pup, that is. Woof!

I guess that is it for now.... Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! May we all have a peaceful and blessed Easter Season!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Five Years Later

The Iraq War is now five years old. Five years of injured and dead soldiers and Iraqi citizens. Five years of chaos in the streets of Iraq and grief in America and around the world. In the newspaper this morning President Bush was quoted as saying that the war "was worth it" and he has had "no doubts" about the war. I don't know about you, but I would feel a lot more comfortable with a president who has a few doubts. Who can ravage a country and send thousands of our men and women into harms way with out a few doubts?

A sister-blogger offered this prayer on the Fifth Anniversary of the war along with some suggestions on promoting peace. Apparently the anniversary of the war falls on the Catholic Feast of St. Joseph, who was certainly an example of peace. Thanks to Sister Susan Rose Francois and may we all, in our various traditions, pray for peace in our world.

God of Peace, grant peace to the people of Iraq, the United States and the entire world. Give us the strength and wisdom to follow the path of peace. May Joseph's life of faith inspire us to trust in your abiding love, especially in times of struggle and uncertainty. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.


Monday, March 17, 2008

My 34th Year

I've decided to do something special for my 34th year, and, since they say you are more likely to stick to your decisions if you tell someone, I'm telling you. But first a little back-story....

I serve on the Board of Directors for MACC (Manchester Area Conference of Churches) which runs our local soup kitchen, shelter, food pantry and thrift shoppe. At our last Board meeting the Executive Director related an experience with one of their woman clients. This woman has physical and mental health issues and is not able to work. She was shopping in the thrift store one day when she came up to the counter, clutching a package of underwear, crying. Because of her limited income, she has to shop at thrift stores for all of her clothes. She told the cashier that it had been years since she owned any underwear. Since underwear obviously cannot be sold used, thrift stores often don't have a supply in a variety of sizes. People don't think of donating new underwear (or socks or bras) to the thrift shop. Thrift store patrons are often, understandably, too proud to ask. I can't imagine going years without any underwear.

So for my 34th year I am going on a clothing fast. I am not going to buy any new clothes as a way to stand with those who have to choose between food and medicine and housing and clothing. Each month I am going to take the portion of my "allowance" I would have spent on clothes and buy new underwear, socks, and bras for the thrift shoppe.

While I don't consider myself a 'clothes horse' (Gary might point to my two closets and two and a half dressers to disagree) I do enjoy shopping for clothes. I shop for things I need, but also for recreation and sometimes as a pick-me-up. Yet the truth is that I have everything I need... and what I have will certainly last me more than a year. Not everyone can say that.

So wish me luck. I've already had to reluctantly toss more than one catalog in the recycling bin. My hope is that I may come to the end of the year with more understanding and having made a difference, however small, in my community.

And, by the way, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Birthday Poem from Gram

My Gram wrote this for my 24th birthday.

Poem for Krista’s Birthday

(March 1999)

What is a dandelion?
What is a rose?
What is love?
No-one knows.

Thanks be to God above
Who made the dandelion,
The rose, and the ones I love.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stations of the Cross

In case anyone was wondering, the Confirmation Retreat was a great success. The weather didn't dampen our spirits too much. Some of the kids even went out in the rain to play soccer during their free time. There was much laughter, lots of new friendships formed, and even some spiritual growth I do believe!

The weekend concluded with the youth walking the Stations of the Cross. I've included a couple of pictures of the stations. Stephanie and I made the posters a couple of years ago for this retreat. In the past we've hung them up outside, but this year the weather made that impossible.

After walking the stations, the youth and leaders came back to the retreat center for a closing worship with Communion. It was a blessing to be together and to reflect on what it means to be the Body of Christ. I thank God that I am always surprised at what a blessing these weekends turn out to be!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Procrastination

After a relatively productive few weeks (Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Sunrise Easter bulletins are all done!) I've hit a slump. Procrastination seems to be the word for today. While choosing a pen to begin making notes for my sermon I noticed the extreme lack of organization in my pen jar! How could this be?? I spent the next ten minutes going through my pens and getting rid of the ones that I don't like or that don't work. Rest assured, all is in order now.

But my procrastination didn't stop there.... Even though I still have two months worth of contact lenses at home, today was THE day I had to go buy my new supply. And, since I was out anyway, there was certainly no harm in stopping at Best Buy and Great Harvest.

Now I am procrastinating by blogging! But it really is time to get to work. The Palm Sunday sermon still needs to be written and I am hoping to get a jump start on Holy Week and Easter.

But wait a second.... look at that... my bulletin board could really use some attention......

Friday, March 07, 2008

Friday Five ~ Hope Edition

I'm leaving for the big Confirmation Retreat at Camp Aldersgate today, but I have time for a quick Friday Five! RevGal Sally writes, "I believe that if we look carefully we can see signs of hope all around us.... as for signs of spring... well you tell me.... What have you seen/ heard this week that was a :

1. Sign of hope?

The most exciting thing that happened this week was feeling my friend Stephanie's baby kick. It felt just like a little tap against my hand. How amazing! I can't wait to meet this little person.

2. An unexpected word of light in a dark place?

On Wednesday I visited a member who is currently living in a convalescent home. Doc is an amazing man in his 90's. For several years he has been writing a Bible Study on the Book of Revelation. I got to see the completed version and it is really very good. He is seeking my help to get it copyrighted. That he would take on such an ambitious project with his age and limitations in an inspiration.

3. A sign of spring?

Beautiful sun and 50 degree weather yesterday. I didn't even wear a coat!

4. Challenging/ surprising?

Challenging: Clergy Taxes. Need I say more?

5. Share a hope for the coming week/month/year....

I hope that the Confirmation Retreat goes well and the that weather forecast is wrong! I can't imagine what will happen with 80 kids shut up in the lodge for the weekend while it pours outside! No matter what happens, though, I hope that friendships will be made and faith deepened this weekend ~ for both youth and adult leaders.

Bonus play... a piece of music/ poem guaranteed to cheer you?

The Dixie Chicks Taking the Long Way always makes me feel hopeful. It reminds me that we don't always get there the way we or others think or expect, but we usually end up just where we are supposed to be.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Back to Camp

It is time for our annual Conformation Retreat. My thoughts have not changed that much since I posted about it last year. I like these retreats in theory, but when the time gets closer I want to run screaming in the opposite direction! However, these kinds of retreats can be extremely valuable for the youth and their spiritual development, so I go ~ and I usually end up enjoying myself.

This year we have five youth and three adults from our church attending. We will join seventy other youth and adults, so this year's retreat will be much larger than last. One benefit of the retreat I find on a local level is that my confirmation youth return with a much stronger bond. They have shared a unique experience which makes them feel like a group. They have become friends.

As for my post retreat retreat, I'm thinking of the movie "Amazing Grace" along with dinner made by Gary and a foot massage!