Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Five ~ Week Late Edition

Since Gary and I enjoyed a mini-vacation this week (and I am a week behind on my Friday Five anyway) I am going to do last week's Friday Five just for fun!

RevGal Sally wrote last Friday:

It is a holiday weekend here in the UK, and the weather forecast for much of the country is not good!!! But we can still dream and so with that in mind I bring you this Friday Five.

1. Getting ready for summer, do you use the gradual tanning moisturizers (yes gentlemen you too can answer this!!!), or are you happy to show your winter skin to the world?

I have used the gradual tanning moisturizer, but it seems to be more trouble than it is worth. I am proud of my white skin ~ with no sun-spots it just means it's healthy.

2. Beach, mountains or chilling by the pool, what/ where is your favorite getaway?

I like going to the beach, but one afternoon is usually enough for me. I'm not really into swimming and I can only sit in my beach chair for so long. If I had to pick from the list provided, the mountains would probably be my first choice. However, I like vacations that offer a variety.... some time on the go, some time to relax... different sites to see and experience. We just got back from a trip to our little cottage in Maine. It was fun since we got to relax, see old friends, and spend sometime working outside. (Although the mosquitoes were vicious!)

3. Are you a summer lover or does the long break become wearing?

Break? What Break? Are some people getting a break? In some ways summer seems busier than the rest of the year ~ or at least busier in a different way. The heat does get wearing, though. When the heat and humidity are oppressive it is hard to get anything done! And, unfortunately, I am not a big fan of air conditioners.

4. Active holidays; hiking swimming sailing, or lazy days?

As I mentioned above, I like a little bit of both. It is nice to get out and try some news things, but also have time to polish off a good novel or two.

5. Now to the important subject of food, if you are abroad do you try the local cuisine, or do you prefer to play it safe?

I'll try a few things, but I won't go overboard! I HAD to try the San Francisco Clam Chowder last month when we were out there and it was fabulous .... and the Jamaican Jerk pork was great in Jamaica. But I don't tend to stray too far from what I know and love.

Friday, May 23, 2008

WOW

Here is a shout-out to Rick who is on the planning team for the New England School of Congregational Development which will take place November 6-8. This year the theme is WOW ~ Walk on Water. Rick has been working hard on a promotional video for Annual Conference. Check it out! I've been asked to be on the Worship Team and I am (to use a Maine expression) 'wicked' excited!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Surprise!

Last Sunday we threw a surprise baby shower for my good friend who is expecting. It was particularly fun since it really was a surprise. Some 50 church women were able to pull it off without spilling the beans. There were a couple close calls, but we did it!

Being at the shower drove home to me what it means to be part of a community of faith. My friend is a transplant to Connecticut. Most of her family lives out west. Even though her family was not able to come, she was surrounded by the love and care of her church family. There were women there who could have been her sister or mother or grandmother or maybe even great-grandmother. And they were all so happy to be part of her special time. What do people do ~ where do people find connections ~ when they are not part of a community of faith?

Family will be flying in from across the country in a couple of weeks for another shower. I get to join in that one, too, and I'm sure it will be great fun. I feel blessed to be part of it all ~ one of the many people who is anticipating this baby with lots of love ready to share. In related news, the most exciting thing for me this week was getting to feel the baby move and feeling the push of a little foot! How cool is that?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Moooo

Lately Gary and I have been purchasing our milk from a local dairy. Town Farm Dairy produces certified organic milk. It is a small operation with room for about 35 cows. We are thinking of taking a trip there to visit the cows that provide us with our milk!

This is really the first step in what we hope will be a more conscious effort to eat locally. Over at holy trouble Molly posts frequently about her efforts at sustainable living through her garden. Recently Allen wrote about the local crop of fiddleheads in Maine. We aren't gardeners, and we don't have a crop of fiddleheads to pick on the side of the road, but we do want to be more conscientious about what we eat and where it comes from. Eating locally is healthier because the food you eat is fresher! It is also better for the environment because the food is not transported across the country.

So we will start by meeting our happy Connecticut cows. We will feast on Connecticut grown peaches. We will shop at farmer's markets. In doing so I hope we can honor God and the earth... and hope that Connecticut develops some delicious winter crops... I don't have many good recipes that involve snow!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"Younger" Clergy

Yesterday I spent the day with several of the other "younger" clergy in our Conference. It is refreshing to know that I am still younger, if not young! And, by the way things looking with the demographics of our Conference, I will be "younger" for several more years. In order to give it a more precise definition, one of the organizers of the event said a "younger" clergy is anyone who plans to still be in active ministry in 2040. God willing, I guess that includes me.

It was nice to gather to simply share lunch and meet each other. While I knew most of the people in attendance, there were a few new faces. As for the program, I'm not really sure what was gained besides a deepening sense of fellowship. The Bishop joined us for the day and shared information about General Conference. He communicated some of the visioning work done in our Conference around growth and growing-edges and asked us to reflect on it. Personally I didn't feel particularly inspired by this format. Although I probably could not have articulated it before the event, my real interest was in hearing the concerns and joys, challenges and celebrations of my fellow "younger" clergy. Where do you connect with God? Where do you feel the most pain in ministry? How do you juggle family and the church? How can we support each other?

There was some talk about continuing the conversation. As many of us traveled significant distances to get together, it is impractical to think that we would be able to meet on a regular basis. The development of some kind of on-line community was suggested. I offered to put up a "Younger" Clergy blog (with help from others) which will be linked to the NEUMC wesbite. While I am a big fan of on-line communities, I wonder how much a NEUMC "Younger" Clergy blog will be used. I'm not intending to be pessimistic, but the truth is we are all so busy.

Perhaps the blog will be a place to begin to ask the questions I mentioned above. Perhaps not. Either way, I'm willing to give it a try. I do think, though, that we need to find ways to connect and get real with each other and form some kind of supportive community. We have the next 32 years together in ministry so we may as well make the best of it!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Nothin' Better

Yesterday was the best kind of day-off. It was raining, so I felt no pressure to go out and do anything. It was rather dreary outside, so it was easy to sleep-in and even take a nap in the afternoon. I did, however, get a couple things done. I made chocolate pudding from scratch. I read about Eustace getting turned into a dragon and back again in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I listened to my three Swinging Steaks CDs. I watched two episodes of Monk.

Okay. So I wasn't all that productive. But it was a really nice day to just relax. Hopefully next Friday will be sunny so I can work in the yard, plant some flowers and take Nicky for a walk. But yesterday was just what I needed at just the right moment. And when that happens, there's nothin' better!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Glide Memorial UMC

During our day in San Francisco we visited Glide Memorial UMC. It was my one request and I think I freaked-out our traveling companions a bit! Glide is located in a rather tough part of town, but that is the point. There were people sleeping in the doorways and panhandlers on the corners surrounding the church. We saw some pretty desperate looking people. Yet Glide's mission focus is on helping those in the community who are struggling with homelessness, poverty, drug addiction, joblessnes, etc.

While we did not get a tour of the church, we did find a nice man who showed us around and told us a little bit about their work. Glide Memorial UMC has a budget of $15 million. That is mind blowing enough, but think of 90% of that budget going to mission in the city. That makes me think of our budget and what we are doing with the money we have. Our church budget is, admittedly, nowhere near $15 million, but still ~ where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also.

Here is a picture of me standing in the hallway of the church. Just from my brief look-around, I would say they are definitely living out this slogan. I hope I can too!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

General Conference Guilt

I have a confession to make. I totally missed General Conference. Probably that had something to do with my being on vacation during the better part of the gathering, but the fact remains.... I paid no attention, spent no time thinking about and was barely even aware that it was going on. And I feel guilty. I'm sure some people would consider me a bad United Methodist because of it and I would be hard pressed to disagree.

What is the root cause of my disinterest? I'm not exactly sure. Perhaps I'm more pessimistic than I would like to admit.... maybe I didn't think anything of real significance would happen... maybe I was trying to protect myself from disappointment... maybe I was weary of large gatherings where the agendas are busy but little gets done.

I know many people who were glued to their computers, watching the video feeds and checking the updates every day. I thank God for those people, but that was not me. I will say that I prayed for my friends and the other delegates who attended. And I've enjoyed reading the blog posts as reflections and impression trickled out over the last week. Even now, as I hear bits and pieces, I celebrate the steps we have taken toward being an inclusive church, but I grieve the long way we still have to go.

Perhaps I need to catch the Spirit. As a church we don't need more people sitting on the side-lines. We need more people who are willing to risk for change. Pentecost is coming and I will keep my heart open. And I promise to be a better United Methodist four years from now!

Friday, May 02, 2008

San Francisco Treat

We spent one wonderful day in the city of San Fransisco. From what I understand, the weather in San Francisco can be quite unpredictable, but we were lucky. It was warm and sunny all day. We visited Haight-Ashbury, took pictures at the Golden Gate Bridge, shopped at Pier 39, stopped by Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, rode the trolley cars, and strolled through China Town. However, my favorite part of visiting San Francisco was the seals! We stood on the pier for a long time just watching and listening to these magnificent creatures as they sunned themselves on the docks.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Meeting the Redwoods

As my mother said, the first people to encounter the Redwoods must have thought that giants lived in the area. These trees are unbelievable. The works of God are truly awe-full and amazing!