Monday, November 29, 2010

The week that was and the weeks to come

Last week I decided was going to be vacation week for me. I've been at the church for so long (10 years!) that I've accrued extra vacation time in addition to the days that I haven't taken in years past. Vacation time it was!

Monday, G.G. and I decided to head north and visit the newest member of the family, Little T as well as his cousins Bubba and Curious Guy. I played trucks with Bubba, cuddled Little T and flirted with Curious Guy...oh yeah and enjoyed the time with my cousins and aunt and uncle. Wednesday G.G. and I made the trek to Tahoe for Thanksgiving with the family. Snow had made it's arrival, leaving a couple of feet of around the house. I woke up on Thanksgiving Day thinking "it would be so much fun to make a sled run by the house". And then I remembered that I didn't really want to do that. Instead I hung out with Little Miss P. We took our picture together again. I'll have to find it and post it for the world to see!

Saturday G.G. and I went home, through the snow and the rain. As we were driving home, it occurred to me that besides the conversation in the car with G.G. about work, I hadn't really thought about work all week. I didn't pick up a single book that had to do with work. I even avoided the computer, only checking things a couple of times in the week. I didn't stress out about all the stuff going down and worry about how I'm going to make it come January if all the financial stuff goes the way it's looking like it's gonna go. I just entered into the moments and let the rest of life go by. It was lovely.

Of course, now that I'm back home, back at work, that reality is looming. But before all of that goes down, there's this trip to Mississippi** that is coming. And Christmas. And Train Guy's birthday. I started a list today of all that needs to be done between now and the's a lot of stuff which will just continue to grow until that moment I get on a plane bound for Mississippi...which reminds me I need to add rides to the airport to that list.

Add to it, today I woke up and found that for the first time in over a year I'm getting a cold. Raw throat, semi-stuffy nose. Loveliness. Guess all that rest and non-stress isn't good for my body...or maybe it was hanging out with all those kidd0's! Oh well, not gonna let it get me down. On with the show!

**For those that are curious, I'm $180 away from my goal for the Mississippi trip. If you can throw a couple of dollars into the hat, it would be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just stuff

There is much going on in life lately. Much of it, I'm just not ready to share about yet. My brain keeps spinning and spinning and spinning but the words just don't want to come out here. Sorry.

I am, however, getting anxious about the upcoming trip to Mississippi. It's been such a huge part of my life for the last 5 years, that the reality of this being the last hurrah is weighing on my heart. And lest you think that I jest about this being the last trip, I'm already exploring other opportunities for the youth for spring or summer. I'm that serious. The other day I started to write about the trips, just because I couldn't stop thinking about them. One memory sparks another and another and another. It's good but overwhelming at the same time.

My anxiety is also tied to financing for the trip as well. I've got $400 to raise still. Aack! It's doable, just stressful. If you're willing to help out go here for details on how to help. You can also read about past trips.

Before all that, though, it's family time. G.G. and I are taking a quick jaunt to visit the Redding part of the family before heading to Tahoe for Thanksgiving. Which means I am going to be surrounded by family and babies for the next excited!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kicking myself ever since

Saturday night was a benefit concert for the Mississippi Team. It was amazing! We raised just a little under $1100 for the upcoming trip. So nice, especially considering people like me who have yet to raise all the money needed for the trip. After getting home at about 10:30 and talking with Yo Momma for awhile, I headed for bed. I checked emails and Facebook, watched a little TV and turned out the light...only to lie in bed awake with my mind racing about all 9 trips to Pearlington. At 1am I finally turned the computer back on and wrote this sentence "I need to tell you about Pearlington". A little after 1:30 I turned the computer back off...oh wait, that is a little after the second 1:30am. Daylight Savings Time really did end at 2am on Sunday morning. The clock on my computer hit 1:59am and then went back to 1am. Strangeness. Thank goodness for that extra hour!

Sunday afternoon, I was sitting with Yo Momma, sharing about the night before recalling silly little things about that first trip back in April of 2006. One thing that stood out for me as I was writing was the woman at the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance call center who got really grumpy when I asked if we could add one more person to our group of 20. She reluctantly relented and then in a snippy tone said "but no more!'. Yes ma'am. It didn't occur to me until I was writing all that down that once we actually got to the camp it was only half full and stayed that way all week. Why was one more person a problem?!

As I was relating the story, Yo Momma looked at me and said "That's it! That's the job for you! You need to be that person who sends groups out, organizes their trips, helps them find a place to serve!"

What Yo Momma didn't know and what she soon came to find out was that job came up on the Presbyterian Job site awhile back, maybe a year and a half ago, and I was really close to applying for it but one thing held me back...the job is in Louisville, Kentucky. At that time, I wasn't willing to relocate but looking back I've been kicking myself ever since.

Every now and then I check the job site, just to see if a job like that comes up...because honestly, I could really dig a job like that.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

From November 2009

I was browsing back through my blog history, checking to see if there were posts that I hadn't posted yet, sitting in the draft box. There were. I deleted some but this one, written one year and two days ago rang true again.

November 2, 2009
Why do we do the things we do? That's been rumbling through my head lately. Most of it has been focused on the church, because that's where most of my time is spent. As I observe our activities, our rituals, I wonder, why do we do the things we do?

A few years ago, I began to really dislike the word tradition. Tradition was labeled to anything that the church had done once that was mildly successful and likely to be done again. It got me thinking, what makes something tradition? For some, I learned, it all came down to what they saw as important and worth hanging onto. That was tradition. Something that they wanted to change became outdated and old. Not the same thing as tradition.

The word tradition comes up regularly in our staff meetings. I cringe every time I hear it, much the same way that those new to a ministry setting cringes when they hear those fateful words "we've always done it this way." *Sigh*

We human beings like rituals. We like traditions. We do things the same way because it's comforting, familiar, safe. There are moments when we get caught up in safety and comfort and miss the something more that's out there.

Reading the Old Testament and the Gospels it stands out to me that when we get uber comfortable with our rituals, our routines, our traditions, we get into trouble. We miss the other that is out there. The other can be things that are different, that change what we have known and mess with our pre-conceived notions of what will be. Many times, in the midst of ritual or tradition that we do for God, we miss God.

Sundays ago during the worship service we read together a part of a creed that I remember reading most Communion Sundays growing up. I said it so many times that I can recall it almost word for word without needing help. It became something we did so often, that I missed reading the words, hearing the meaning behind them. It became a ritual. That particular ritual was phased out by the next Pastor, I'm sure with some people saying "but we've always done it this way" and new rituals were added...or not. As we read it together, this particular day, something took hold in me, something that said "this isn't just a ritual, these words have meaning, they have a purpose." In all my years of reading that creed, I had missed the other. I had missed the meaning and only saw a ritual. I had missed God.

Being a life-long church girl, it's been easy to do church, to focus on the rituals and the things we do for God and miss God along the way. I'm becoming more and more uncomfortable with that. My soul feels very unsettled, unsteady and lacking. How am I to encourage participation in church to youth and young adults when the I am having a hard time finding God in the church, in the rituals, in the tradition, in the ways "we've always done things"? I am tired of missing God in church. I want to find God again and if that means that some of the rituals, the things that we do for tradition sake have got to go away, then so be it.

As a staff we've been reading a book that speaks about what we do as a body of believers. The word "relevant" keeps popping up. The church universal is definitely struggling with relevance these days...maybe it's because we're a little stuck..."we've always done things this way". Pondering it all.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A dotty Tuesday

  • I left my house a little before 9am this morning. Headed to Star$. It was a necessity this morning.
  • Got to work a little before 9:30. Immediately went to staff meeting.
  • Got out of staff meeting and talked with various people. Sent a couple of emails, fixed one problem on church website.
  • Went back home to get the booster seat so that I could help K out and pick up Train Guy from the bus.
  • Got the booster seat, headed to the polling place.
  • Was almost run over by the woman in the gold prius with the nutritionist license plate holder on her car as I walked from the farther away parking area to the polling place.
  • Voted so I have the right to complain.
  • Was almost run over AGAIN by the woman in the gold prius with the nutritionist license plate holder on her car as I walked from the polling place to the farther away parking area. REALLY????!!!!!
  • Pondered how potentially running over someone could possibly make the woman in the gold prius' day go more slowly.
  • Returned to work in time to do a couple of things before meeting the bus.
  • Stood in the parking lot with LN eating chocolate pie while waiting for the bus...and met one of my neighbors.
  • Greeted Train Guy as he got off the bus. Piled him into the car and took him to his house.
  • Talked with K and Train Guy.
  • Stopped and picked up lunch.
  • Went back to work.
  • Answered two phone calls.
  • And now it's 3pm.