Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Updated: Warning: Extremely disturbing post to follow discretion advised

This morning I was walking to the front door when I spotted a disturbing sight.  Sitting on the old sewing machine are two of the many Isabel Bloom angels that Yo Momma has gifted me with over the years, usually for my birthday or Christmas or when she gets back from her bike ride in May...cuz the mothership of Isabel Bloom just happens to be in Davenport, Iowa where our family and friends are!  If you aren't familiar with Isabel Bloom just click on her name and you will find out what I'm talking about.  They aren't for everyone, but I love them.

Anyway, I easily have over 20 Isabel Bloom angels and friends and have had to find creative places to put them.  Space is limited around here.  They have had a great home on the sewing machine since Christmas...or so I thought.  This morning I was horrified to see this:

Yes, my friends, that is a headless angel.  Now, I have no idea when this happened.  It could have happened awhile back or it could have happened yesterday, that's not the issue.  The issue is that there is a headless angel in my house and I wasn't told!  Upon further inspection, not only has the angel been decapitated but one of the birds that she is holding is missing it's head as well.  Upon further, further inspection I found there to be no, I repeat, no remnants of said birds head or crumbles of grey cement upon the floor,  Very suspicious.

There is an angel and bird be-header in my midst, my friends, and I am on a mission to find them out!

Update:  If you read the comments you will find that this person: 

was the culprit...or the version of this person who lives in my house.  Mystery solved!  :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Putting my degree to work

This weekend I worked in the Child Care Department at the local Christian Camp.  There was a guest church in for the weekend, they had contracted the summer Child Care Department to find help and my friend is the head of that department soooo...I worked Child Care this weekend.  Opinionated Friend was helping too and the deal was that we were going to spend time holding babies.  I can do that.

Friday night we showed up at the required time and the kids started coming in.  Turns out we weren't just in the baby department but the baby to 2 year old department.  Okay, I can handle that too.  I had forgotten, though, just how piercing a child scream can be when left with complete strangers in a completely new environment an hour or two before their normal bedtime.  Wow.  We had a lot of criers.  A lot.  I wound up with 20 month or so old E who finally collapsed in sleep after crying off and on for almost an hour and a half.  It was okay, I could hold her...though my arms were aching.  She finally, finally relaxed in her sleep and I went to gently lay her in a crib.  Yeah, she would have none of that and woke up screaming again.  She did, finally, stop crying and just sat on my lap for the final 20 minutes.  Suffice to say this was not the night of holding a calm, gentle baby.

Saturday morning the lady from the church group who was heading up the whole thing, split the groups in half and O.F. and I were in with a group of six 2 year olds.  The rest of the weekend went smoothly.  I did, however, remember things about working with toddlers that I had forgotten.  Like how hard it is for some parents to leave their children when they are crying.  I get that as a parent the most natural thing in the world is to want to make things okay for your child.  As a care giver, I need the parent to leave the room as quickly as possible after saying goodbye, even if their child is screaming and trying to cling to them.  Most of the time, the child will adapt to their environment and get distracted from their crying within 5 minutes.  The long goodbye is just torture on all of us!

I was also quickly reminded that little kids love to dump out every single item onto the floor and then proceed to step on them instead of picking them up.  They also love the same toys at the same time and if one is crying, another will soon follow if not quickly assured that everything really is okay.

The thing that I loved being reminded of was the innocent trust that most little kids have with adults.  Little S came in with her mom last night and was putting up a little fuss about being left at check-in.  So mom walked S into the room where O.F. and I were.  S looked at me and stuck out her arms in the international sign of "hold me".  I think it took her mom by surprise, I know it took me by surprise but it also helped her mom to walk out of the room and know that her daughter was comfortable in her surroundings.  That kind of thing is really cool...and so are the belly laughs of kids having fun!  :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I've been having very vivid dreams recently...okay, in the last 5 weeks since I quit my job.  There have been the dreams that I've expected--like the one's after I left the church where people were mean and my feelings were hurt and then life fell apart, none of that happened in real life, just my dreams--but then there have been the ones that I've not expected.

The other night my dream focused on the new Youth Director for the church.  I know him.  Actually when I quit, he came to mind immediately as someone who might be interested in the job.  I think he will be great.  All that said my insecurities came out in the dream where he went into the job and then immediately criticized everything that I had previously done. I woke feeling anxious and stressed out. 

Last night I dreamed about my friend Cora who passed away recently.  Her memorial service is coming up in a couple of weeks and I am obviously anxious about that!  In my dream it went horribly.  I can't remember all the details but suffice to say I woke up in a panic and really, really frustrated with the whole service...that hasn't even happened yet!

I don't mind dreams.  I know that they are actually my brains way of working things out and can shine a lot of light onto what I am feeling beneath the surface.  Sometimes, though, I don't really want to know what's beneath the surface and would just like to have weird dreams, like the one where Kanda had eyelashes that were two inches long (which BTW, I met someone this weekend whose eyelashes were so long I had to stop myself from commenting on them! I literally almost blurted out "I had a dream about your eyelashes only they were on someone else!")

Turns out that I'm not the only one dreaming.  As I shared all of this with K this afternoon, she related a dream she had about me getting an administrative assistant job for a way-lot-of-money and moving...though not moving far.  Well, one can hope that dreams become reality, right?  :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A little bit of this and that

I've started and stopped a number of posts over the last couple of days.  Though there are words that are begging to be let out, there's a part of me that always holds back not wanting to over share.  It's a struggle that I always feel when it comes to blogging.  I want to share yet where is the line?  When does it become just whining and over sharing?  I don't have that answer yet.

I've been a busy girl lately.  Last weekend was Cousin V's wedding, which I was so honored to officiate.  What made it even more fun was that 29 of the 30 family members (and significant other's married or not) on that side of the family were together at the same time.  It was fun to see the 2nd cousins running around playing and laughing.  There were photographs taken, I just don't happen to have them.  They will come later.

My one day a week job has been good for me.  Youth Pastor Friend, Mr. T., has been out of town but he left me with a list of things to do...which I've pretty much done.  On the list was to start clearing off his desk and going through pictures.  Just would like it recorded that when I was in youth ministry I was given a REALLY bad time for the state of my office.  My office had nothing on Mr. T's.  Just sayin'.

Aunt C asked today if I had gotten back to a normal schedule after the weekend and I laughed to myself.  I don't know what normal is lately but I'm enjoying it.  Something comes up every day.  Take Monday for example.  I had lunch plans with Amy and needed to drop off an application for a very brief job (Child Care at a camp this weekend) but had nothing on the schedule for the rest of the day.  Then LN texted and I wound up getting coffee with her and a behind-the-scenes tour of the local amusement park.  It was a pretty cool!  If this is normal, I like it!

Today marks my 37th year in the world.  I'm enjoying my free birthday coffee with a side of peace and quiet and will enjoy pizza and the company of K, N, Meg and kiddo's later today.  I've been showered with blessings and well wishes all day and am feeling very loved.   

That said, there is stuff brewing beneath the surface on this birthday (see beginning of this post) and I'm aware more than ever that God is in control of my life and I am not.  Totally grateful for where I've been, the people that God has surrounded me with and for the opportunity that I have right now to sit back, to pray, ponder and listen.  Just can't help wanting God to hurry things up already!

Friday, September 16, 2011


It's almost Saturday and I'm finally getting around to looking at today's blogs.  The RevGals Friday Five was on seeking and it struck a chord with me.  So here are 5 things I am seeking right now.  I'm not going to link it over to the Friday Five but it's fun just the same!

1.  Contentment.  God knows where my discontentment lies and we've been having some discussions lately.  More to the effect that I've broken down in tears and keep repeating the same prayer over and over again. 

2.  The enthusiasm and confidence to start applying for jobs.

3.  Jobs that are actually worth applying for.

4.  Clothes to wear to interviews and said potential jobs.  Can I just say that being a girl of substance it is awful having to go clothes shopping?  Slacks and I have never gotten along well (I am a jeans girl) and skirts/dresses hit me wrong...because I actually do have a waist AND hips, go figure.  I'm sure that Clinton and Stacy on What Not to Wear would find clothes to flatter my substance but I have absolutely NO desire to go on National TV and be torn to pieces for my looks.  I already beat myself up as is.

5.  Sleep.  One really good nights sleep without dreams about church, youth group, family, friends or any of the myriad of things that have woken me up in the middle of the night for the last four weeks.  Though I would like to know why I dreamed about my friend Kanda and why, in my dream, she had eyelashes that literally must have been 3 inches long. weird!  :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Getting real

Five of us sat around tonight talking.  We talked about this, we talked about that, we talked church, we talked life, we just talked.  The margarita's helped a little but truthfully it doesn't take much to get this group chatting.  Well, four of the group.  I tend to sit on the sidelines and interject occasionally...there's always one in the crowd, right?

One of the five was new to the group.  At one point one looked over and said to her "Sorry, we probably sound really awful right now."  To which the response was "Are you kidding, Christians being real?!" which implied that it was refreshing to hear four Christian women just tell it like they see it.  Which reminded me why I like hanging out with these particular women, they aren't afraid to be real. 

Real in the sense that we can say what is on our hearts and we aren't judged.  Real in the sense that if one shares a struggle, the rest of us don't doubt that she is still a Christian.  Real in the sense that when one of us lets loose with some "unholy" language there is no harsh intake of breath like she has just committed a mortal sin.  I could keep going but I think you get it.

Our conversation tonight is what I find missing in most Christian circles, and to be perfectly honest, is what a lot of younger people are feeling is missing from churches.  I'm not sure it's a new phenomenon, maybe the conversations have just changed a little, gotten a little grittier.  Still the sentiment is there, we want church to be a place where we can be real and still find acceptance and love.  I even saw it in the youth group setting.  When we combined the high school and young adult group for the summer, the conversations got grittier, things were said that were more authentic, less covered with the constant thought (on my part) that I would have to answer to their parents if we went too far in the conversation.  After one such conversation, S looked at her friend and said "I like grown-up youth group."  Christians being's appealing.

I sat around a living room tonight with four other Christian women being was good.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The ebbs and flows

There are times when things are fine.  I don't worry about finding a job or having enough money to pay the bills I have or whether or not I will ever be able to have a home of my own or any of the things that cause some worry in my head. 

There are times when things are not fine.  When I beg God to take away the longing for something more, the ache in my heart as another number creeps up and I realize I'm so far away from where I thought I would at this point in life.

Yet I don't regret the choices and decisions that have lead me here, to the unknown, the in-between, the wondering stage of life where I contemplate and work really hard to let go of the reins, allowing God to lead me down whatever path is next.  That doesn't make the aches and worries less real, nor the unexpected and overpowering tears of grief that well up at a moments notice any less powerful.  They are still real, still present.

These are the ebbs and flows of life, the ups and downs and in-betweens where the past is past and the future is unclear but the now is real, breathing and tangible...and feeling a little shaky. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Brain in overdrive

Over the last few weeks I've gotten used to late-late nights and later mornings, so much so that my brain really starts to work as I lay in bed, staring into the darkness wishing it were cooler in the room I'm in and telling myself it's time to sleep. The theme of my brains musings is a consistent reflection on where I've been and where I'm going.  Intermingled with that is the new blog that is percolating in my head...literally another blog site...which got me thinking about why I started blogging in the first place.

I honestly can't remember when I first discovered blogging.  It may have been with Real Live Preacher (which no longer exists so I'm not linking to it) to which there were links to more blogs, with more links and so on.  Links are a wonderful thing!  I was very much a "lurker" in the beginning, and truth be told I still am for the most part.  Opinionated Friend had a blog and soon I jumped into the fray.  This blog started out as a place to put my thoughts, feelings and just the randomness that is my brain.  Soon I realized the tool that it could be for our Mississippi trips and I gave out the address to people to go to and find pictures and updates.  It didn't occur to me until a few trips later to actually make a blog for the Mississippi trips themselves!

Giving out the address changed what I wrote here, to a certain extent but it didn't change my basic reason for blogging...just putting my thoughts in print.  552 posts later, here I am, still putting my thoughts into print.  The title of the blog is very much appropriate...I am definitely on a journey.  A journey through life, of faith, of understanding, of learning, a journey of hope, of disappointment, of sorrow and grief and all the ebbs and flows of the everyday mundane stuff.

Which is where my brain started really thinking about the future.  The address for this blog is no longer relevant to my life.  I am no longer FPres Youth Director (fpresyd).  I've thought about changing it but I don't think it's worth the hassle.  The big question mark is what am I? Who am I apart from what I do?  That's the million dollar question of the night.

A blogging friend emailed yesterday.  Her email was filled with affirmation and encouragment.  I cried reading it.  I've only met blogging friend once in real life and yet here she was, encouraging, affirming me in my journey.  Her words sparked a thought last night, as I lay staring into the dark wondering who I am and what will I do in the future.  The realization came to me that I have a hard time seeing myself working outside a church setting long-term.  For whatever reason, God has hardwired me to be a church-y kind of person.  I can't envision not working for a church or a church type setting...but I also know that right now isn't the time to jump back into a church position.

There's also the dilemma of not being ordained (aka a "legal" Pastor) while not feeling the urge or calling to go to Seminary.  So I sit and wait and look at shorter term jobs, accept a teeny position that puts me in a church setting without being over involved (for the moment) and lay awake at night with my brain churning wondering what's next...and contemplate starting a new blog.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Present and future jobs

I have a new key on my key ring.  It's to another church.  A very good friend who is a Youth Pastor, well Associate Pastor in charge of Administration and Youth, convinced his church board that he needed some help.  I happened to be leaving my job about the same time they were creating an administration assistant position and we both knew we could work well together so he offered me the job.  Great timing!  Only downside, right now, is that the position is only  6 hours a week.  Sigh.  Still it's something.

Creative Guy and I discussed my future today as we were driving back from Soccer Practice.  He thinks I would make a good teacher.  Maybe a good Kindergarten teacher.  I told him I would take that under advisement.  As I was driving him around (and my cousin's) I thought that maybe I should start a Kid's Shuttle service.  I could get a 12 passenger van and charge so much per mile and just drive Kid's to their appointments, practices or pick them up from school when their parents can't.  I honestly don't know how parents work and have children at the same time.  I'm in awe.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Five: Seasons Edition

Kathrynzj at RevGals says: "Headquarters for me is the northeast of the United States. Here school is getting back in session, the tease of autumn is in the air (or the hope for the tease of autumn is in the air) and church life is gearing up to full throttle.
One thing I've learned with blogging and social media is that the where I live is not necessarily where you live. And so I want to know what September means to you, in your place of the world and time in your life.
This week's Friday Five is: What are 5 things that the beginning of September mean to you?
Bonus: What's one thing you could do without?"
I'm late to the party today but here's my five!

1.  September means that schools are officially back in session, which means that the traveling on the roads around here changes.  Not so many teen drivers during the day and lots more parent drivers in the morning and afternoon.  If I leave the house between 7 and 8:30am (which is rare) I travel an alternate route to avoid the traffic jam.  Same with heading home between 2:15 and 3pm.

2.  Church camp!  The second weekend in September is FPC's annual trek to the KOA.  Even though I'm no longer a part of the church, I'm still going to one more church camp.  Nothing like staying up until the wee hours of the morning sitting around the campfire and laughing with friends.  This year R-girl and I are getting a cabin though.

3.  September usually means that the weather gets warmer during the day and cooler at night.  This year has been an anomaly in weather though.  Lots more fog...not that I'm complaining!

4.  September is my birthday month.  I usually spend the month trying not to think about being another year older.

5.  After so many years being in school and being in youth ministry, I always look at September as the beginning of the year.  It's the time for my vacation, for reflection and to begin planning for the months ahead.  It seems kinda strange not to be doing that this year!

Bonus:  The thing I could do without is the bees and yellow jackets.  While we see them during the summer, for whatever reason the yellow jackets especially get a little more daring and dangerous this time of the year.  Though we might like to eat outside, we hardly dare!