Friday, October 23, 2009

Traveling Mercies

It's been a full, busy week here. The congregation I serve has a new partnership with a sister congregation in Cuba and their pastor is here visiting for a week. She is a delight--a second career pastor who had previously been a veterinarian (waving at Purple!)and is doing a great job of working on her English while she's here. She is warm and animated and we've had a wonderful time getting to know her. We've had a steady stream of meetings and visits and it's been a truly fun week and has prompted us to think in new ways about our parntership and how wonderful it would be to send another group to Cuba before too long. We had a pair of people visit a year ago..She'll be preaching on Sunday while my gang heads to Ohio for Family Weekend. She leaves on Monday for Atlanta and Miami before returning to Cuba.

I am particularly excited about this weekend because my in-laws will be joining us for the fun. DH's parents are the best--we used to live just blocks from them for 7 1/2 years (what a gift of time that was!) and my mother-in-law became one of my best friends. We haven't seen them since Christmas for more than a day, so this will be a nice treat. I know that FBC is looking forward to showing off her dry-witted grandfather and sprite of a grandma to her pals.

I have books to read in the car and a strong desire to visit here and here and here while we're there. Additionally, we'll be attending this and this and this.

Can't wait!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day

The Climate Project offers presenters for groups and great ideas for sharing the urgent message that our planet is in peril.

The Regeneration Project is a great resource for green products for faith communities and their members.
The resources page contains particularly useful materials for faith leaders.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I am most blessed to have such a fine cadre of blogging friends who check in and care and offer prayers and send virtual hugs. Thank you so much.

Monday turned out to be a very quiet day. I spent some time at home and some time at the public library. Tea played a prominent role in the afternoon.

I'm reading a number of books for fun and with an eye toward some of our study groups:

The Faith Club makes a great contribution to interfaith dialogue and would be especially interesting to read with an interfaith group. A Thousand Splendid Suns is a very compelling story, and An Altar in the World is another book worth discussing with others. I'm getting read to read Acts of Faith. I think Eboo Patel and Interfaith Youth Core make an enormous contribution to interfaith understanding.

logo is from Interfaith Maine

Monday, October 12, 2009


I try hard to take Mondays off.

On this cold, crisp Monday morning, I'm going to take my usual walk, do several loads of laundry, read, write and knit. It will be a relaxed day, hopefully, and the time will go by quickly.

Positioned for gratitude, I'm going to be open to pleasant conversation, intriguing reading, birdsong, hot beverages.

Anything to move out past the lonely, quiet house and a heart that still mourns other losses in addition to a good, good dog.

Friday, October 9, 2009

This Too Shall Pass

It's rainy and overcast and cold here again today in Chicago and my spirits are much the same....dreary and overcast. I officiated at a wedding this afternoon and had my game face on, but it was hard work. Tomorrow's memorial service will provide a similar kind of challenge.

No need to respond.
Just a quick post from the Slough of Despond.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A dreary day, a dreary post

It's a little tough to be gentle with oneself when the next twelve weeks are ridiculously full. The fall financial campaign for the coming year is in full swing, a significant shortfall in this year's giving has created stress for weeks now, a major church celebration is brewing in November, high holy days are on the horizon. A full, full church program schedule and a ton of pastoral care all lead me to wonder if I'll ever get any time to myself for the rest of the year. It would probably be therapeutic, but doubtful. Sometimes I wonder if this is the life I would create for myself if I felt as if I had any say at all.

I told someone that, right now, I feel like a poorly constructed paper towel...neither strong nor absorbent. Everything makes me tear up-- planning adult education, thinking about meetings, meetings, meetings, meetings, meetings. I'm very adept at crying.

Tuesday was sort of a perfect storm of events-- realizing that Chase was too tired and sick to go on and having to drive FBC back to school and being the Queen of Hormones (too much information?) have left me weary and rather shredded. FBC loves school, is happy, healthy, doing well. I give thanks. But it's still hard to drive for 6.5 hours in one direction, drop her off and head for home. She's so fun to have around and provides a lovely change of pace from the endless conversations about sports that frame DH and SBC's dinner table conversations. No daughter at home. No dog, either.

Upon returning from Ohio yesterday afternoon, I was confronted with how different our daily routine is. No big dog to greet us at the door. No walks with lots of stops for sniffing trees and lawns. No jingly dog collar creating a good sound in the house. No need to prepare special food, or any dog food, for that matter. We have fifteen extra minutes in the morning.

I'd give up that extra time in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Good Dog Chase

We are dog people. DH and I have had dogs all our lives.

Chase was our 13 year old golden retriever.
We adopted him as an eight week old puppy when our children were seven and three. He was a very spirited pup and an active dog for nearly all of his adult life. He was a big guy; nearly eighty pounds at his biggest, and he was spry and loving. He was good at chewing and playing tug, caught tennis balls and Frisbees like a pro, and was especially adept at forcing his big head under an unsuspecting hand or arm to demand petting.

For the past six weeks, Chase had been struggling. First he was off his feed, then we started noticing slowness and muscle weakness. The vet became a regular contact. He had lost a significant amount of weight. DH and I prepared his food from scratch for the past month-- rice and boiled chicken, ground beef and pasta, anything to get him to eat. He seemed to rally just a bit, but only for a week or so.

This past weekend FBC was home for fall break, and Chase seemed to grow worse daily. He stopped eating anything significant on Friday.
FBC stuck close by him, trying to feed him by hand, and resting on the floor next to him, petting him and even praying with him. It was a beautiful laying on of hands.

By Sunday, Chase needed help up and down the stairs. On Monday, he had some trouble walking back to the house after a short walk outside. Yesterday morning, he could not support his own weight. Tearfully, FBC and I had to leave in order to take her back to Ohio to college. DH and our good friend took Chase to the vet for his last visit. Now we are mourning the loss of a family member, smelly and sweet and so, so loving.

We miss him so much. He was such a good dog.

This is not Chase, but someone who looks a lot like him.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Five- Holy Thoughts

Sally, having had a remarkable experience, invites us to ponder these questions:

1. A place that holds a special memory?
I love the beach, and spent summers growing up here. DH and I spent the first three years of marriage living and serving in a beautiful place. As a baby, SBC took his first steps here. The sound of the ocean and the feel of sand in between one's toes is evocative for me.

2. A song that seems to usher you into the Holy of Holies?
Et Misericordia from Rutter's Magnificat. Does it every time. Here's a link.
3.A book/ poem/ prayer that says what you cannot?
The invitation to communion in rite A of the Wee Worship Book published by Wild Goose. If it's not familiar, here's a link, and you can find it if you scroll about halfway down.
4. How do you remind yourself of these things at times when God seems far away?
Music, walks in nature, quiet time,reading, and I keep a file of notes and letters and anecdotal things that speak to nearness when it's hard to feel or describe.

5.Post a picture/ poem or song that speaks of where you are right now in your relationship with God...

Blue Rose picture from here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Despite the sad lyrics meshed with a boppy tune, Bette Midler was right; you've got to have friends.

I'm grateful to those who shore me up when the emptiness I feel is not so comfortable. I'm grateful for my family, for although I'm such a goofy work-in-progress, they refrain from banishing me to some dark corner. I'm grateful for amazing work colleagues who are authentic and trustworthy and care deeply. I am grateful. Empty feeling, but still quite aware of all that is of good report.

Fall break begins tomorrow afternoon for FBC; she'll be home before midnight and we'll have four whole days with her. I think I speak for many when I say that she's sunlight. Can't wait!