Sunday, April 20, 2008

A walk in the woods

I took a long walk in the woods today. 9-10 miles. About 4 of which were on top of snow pack deep enough that when I occasionally fell through, I sunk up to my knees. 1375' elevation change.

It's very tiring to hike like that.

It was a wonderful day. Tomorrow I head home. There will be a more substantial post in a few days, and some pictures. Now I will sleep. Very peacefully.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Why I love where I live

If someone were to ask me today why I love where I live, I'd tell them this....

I love that I can pull up to a friend's house at 5:30 in the morning, a dog whom I love peering out the window at me, and load up my luggage in the friend's car to head to the airport, where I will catch a flight that leaves at the ungodly early hour of 6:45. Then, walking in to the airport ticket counter, I walk immediately to the front of the line, check my luggage and proceed to security. Having nearly an hour before my flight leaves, I decide to enjoy a little coffee before I endure the long winding line at security. My mocha consumed, I walk up to the security checkpoint and take my place at the end of the line and start slowly moving forward.

A couple of minutes later, I look up to see two familiar faces coming toward me in the line that has doubled-back. It's a retired pastor from the area and her husband. I had lunch with her on Wednesday. They're headed to Germany for two weeks. We chat until the line separates. I continue moving slowly forward, winding my way back and forth a couple of times more when I hear my name in a familiar tenor voice to my right. I don't even have to look. I know it's Mike from church. He's going to New York for a few days of fun. We chat a couple of times when the line's winding brings us together. In between visits with Mike, I meet a couple from church who are can't remember where.

I've never lived anyplace where I regularly meet people I know at the airport. I do love this place!

I'm in Colorado for a couple of days of work and one big day of hiking! Woo Hoo! There's much to think about while I traverse the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. I met with a minister at my church yesterday to talk about my application for the credentialing process. I don't know what I expected, but he was far more affirming and much less cautious in his enthusiasm about the possibilities than I imagined.

Could it be that ordination will actually happen this time? You'll understand if I'm not quite ready to believe it will just yet.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Re-posting just for the heck of it

This memory has been on my mind for several days now, namely because some friends of mine and I have been talking about a quality of mine some of them find weird...the ability to sit with someone in silence and believe that it is a powerful and moving experience. This post from Father's Day 2005 speaks volumes about why that is the case for me:

Yesterday was Father's Day. My dad passed away two and a half years ago. He was actually my step-dad, the only father I knew well. I still miss him, especially this time of year.

Father's Day falls at the point in June when the summer in Missouri starts to grow hot and dry. For years I sneaked away for the weekend, carrying little more than a couple of pairs of ratty jeans, old t-shirts, and my fishing pole, to spend time with him silently casting lures and bait out into ponds where fish might or might not show interest in what we had to offer.

We would wake up early, stop by the grocery store to buy chicken livers for the catfish, and make our way to one of several family farm ponds in the area around his hometown in southwest Missouri. Many of the ponds were in fields where cattle grazed. We would drive his truck as far out as possible and trek the rest of the way on foot, carefully passing under electric fences and around the curious glances of bored cows. Words were few. Our ears were tuned to the droning of locusts and grasshoppers and the lonely calls of red-winged blackbirds and quail.

Conversations consisted of "what are you using?" and "have you gotten a bite yet?" My dad was not given to deep conversation. He would never have thought it necessary to talk about the meaning of life, but I never doubted he considered it, and I was always certain that his understanding of it was worked out while standing on the edge of a pond, rhythmically casting his fishing pole. God was there in those moments with him. With no words to put distance between us, we understood each other.

If heaven is a physical place that in any way resembles this earth, my dad is standing on the edge of a pond, silently whispering gratitude for a life filled with fun, family, and friends. The fish aren't in much danger because he's never been that concerned about catching them. He stands there knowing that he lived his life well, loving his family, showing care and concern for others in ways both big and small.

And in some way, I'm there with him, silently content to bask in the warmth of his love and acceptance, knowing that if I never did another thing of worth or value in this world, he would still be proud of me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Teenagers and ministry as vocation

I have to speak to a group of teens about ministry and vocation soon. I've been given a 30-minute slot of time during which to talk. While they eat.

This kind of scheduling is not my idea of a good plan.

Any thoughts on how to make ministry as a vocation as engaging (or more so) as pizza and the banter to be enjoyed with dozens of others their own age? I need help, you all! I know I'm in trouble. I think pizza and teenage banter is going to be way more interesting that what I have to say!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Five: Makin' a Move

This week's Friday Five is about making a move. I don't think I've ever done a Friday Five. The topic this week though really grabbed my attention, and I haven't had much blogging mojo lately anyway. So here goes....

1.How many times have you moved? When was the last time?
As a kid, I lived in four homes in the same small town of 15,000, so while I had the experience of packing up and moving, I never experienced leaving behind friends and family until I went to college. My life since then has been different. I've had six major moves in the 22 years since I graduated from college, and several smaller moves within the towns I've lived in each of those six locations. My last move was 18 months ago, to where I live now. I hope to stay here for a good long while. No place has felt more like home than this. But, I have been here long enough to become reacquainted with some of my less than stellar personal qualities that have often led to my decisions to move in the past. I was full of adventure and wanderlust in my early adulthood, an independent spirit, afraid of bothering people, and of getting too close. I still love to travel, but I also love to come home, to a familiar place where I have a routine and where there are people who know me, but love me anyway.

2. What do you love and hate about moving?
Each of my moves have been to places where either work/ministry or school offered a chance to learn and explore things that were new and exotic to me. I love that about moving, but I hate the inevitable loneliness of being in a new place. I don't make friends easily, so a new place means a lot of work to get to know people and build relationships that are supportive. I also hate packing and unpacking!!

3. Do you do it yourself or hire movers?
I've always done my own moving, with little help even from friends - because I hate bothering people. This last move, however, my new employer paid my moving expenses. I still did all of the packing, though. I just didn't have to carry the boxes or furniture up the two flights of stairs to my apartment. In 100+ weather.

4. Advice for surviving and thriving during a move?
This last move forced me to do things differently and as a result, my advice is very different than it would have been two years ago. I arrived in my new town two weeks ahead of the moving truck, so I didn't have boxes to unpack for awhile. In the absence of stuff, I got out to explore my new surroundings everyday and was more intentional about going to events and places where I could meet people. I think that approach really helped me settle in to the new place more quickly. Of course, I still have only one picture on the walls, and there are boxes that have yet to be unpacked, an odd little thing left over from living with the ex who never made room for me and my things in her house, leaving me to store my things in a shed behind her house for the five+ years I lived with her. It was a ridiculous thing to put up with and I regret that I didn't care more for myself more than that, but it did shift my relationship to things.

So, I say, use a move to simplify your life and get down to just the basics, and be intentional about making relationships and connection to the landscape of the new place a higher priority.

5. Are you in the middle of any inner moves, if not outer ones?
I'm learning to be more tolerant of discomfort in my life, an inner move that is needed, but not especially easy, and contemplating a suggestion that I could take more risk in relationships as an invitation to an inner move that is both terrifying and exciting.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

What would you do?

I've been mulling over a situation that, as it turns, isn't a situation after all, but could have been. While glancing at profiles on an online dating site, I came across a picture that looked just like a friend of mine. A friend who is in a committed relationship. Fortunately, I was able to get access to additional pictures associated with that profile, so I was able to verify that it is not my friend, but it's left me wondering. The primary picture on the profile looked just like her!!!!

What would you do if you found a friend on an online dating site, one whose relationship status would make looking for a date seem a bit shady?

Monday, April 07, 2008


Rock! Chalk! Jayhawk! KU!

2008 NCAA Champions in Men's Basketball!

It seems like I've been waiting my whole life* for this: 75 to 68 in overtime!
Unfortunately, since Memphis beat UCLA to make it to the final, I didn't win the coveted banana bread prize for the Chalice Lighters pool I was in. I can live with that.
*It's only been 20 years since their last title, but that's long enough.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The shy person's guide to solving problems at work

53 easy steps to solving a problem at work:
  1. Go to church.
  2. On Wednesday night.
  3. In time to eat dinner.
  4. Forget to pick up name tag when you walk in to the church.
  5. Sit at a table full of people you know.
  6. Leave an empty seat next to you at the dinner table.
  7. Wait for gregarious church member to sit next to you.
  8. Visit with gregarious church member.
  9. Be appropriately impressed when he knows your full name without the aid of a name tag.
  10. Tell the truth when he asks what kind of work you do.
  11. Learn that he has a client with a business near yours.
  12. Learn surprising information about business owner's business.
  13. Realize that business owner might have a solution for a big problem at work.
  14. Tell gregarious church member about the need at work.
  15. Watch the wheels spin in gregarious church member's head.
  16. Notice that it's time for chapel to start and say goodbye.
  17. Forget to get gregarious church member's contact info.
  18. Forget to give gregarious church member your contact info.
  19. Go to chapel.
  20. Go to class.
  21. Go home.
  22. Sleep.
  23. Get up.
  24. Get ready for work.
  25. Start e-mail to boss at work about possible solution.
  26. Realize boss will think you're crazy for e-mailing at 6:00 a.m. when you will be at work that day.
  27. Delete e-mail.
  28. Have long phone conversation with friend before work.
  29. Go to work.
  30. Meet with boss.
  31. Forget to tell boss about conversation with gregarious church member.
  32. Remember to tell boss about conversation during meeting at work.
  33. Go to boss's office after meeting.
  34. Tell boss about conversation.
  35. Realize you don't know what kind of work gregarious church member does or what kind of client business owner is for him.
  36. Guess what kind of work gregarious church member does.
  37. Get boss's preference on how to proceed.
  38. Contact minister from church to get contact info for gregarious church member.
  39. Think about calling gregarious church member.
  40. E-mail gregarious church member instead.
  41. Answer phone when gregarious church member calls.
  42. Find out gregarious church member talked to business owner last night on his way home from church.
  43. Get contact info for business owner.
  44. Give contact info to boss.
  45. Talk to boss as she passes through your office and learn that she is on her way over to see business owner.
  46. Listen to the pouring rain start while boss is walking to see business owner.
  47. Wonder if you should take car to pick up boss.
  48. Relax when rain stops.
  49. Talk to colleague about employee appreciation luncheon.
  50. Let boss interrupt conversation with colleague to report on meeting with business owner.
  51. Find out that business owner may have just the solution you've been looking for for six months or more.
  52. Join boss in celebratory dance.
  53. Eat chocolate.
With one "random" conversation at dinner last night, we have likely solved a big problem at work in less than 24 hours. The solution was literally in our backyard!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

If a fox could talk...

...I'd ask her why she keeps crossing my path every time I'm preoccupied with questions of romance or career. What does this animal of the between times and places have to say to me? Is she coming to reassure? To challenge? To warn? To confuse? Am I even asking the right questions?