Saturday, December 22, 2007


National Novel Writing Month came and went and I DID write a novel. I uploaded my something over 50000 words on November 30th only hours after my challenging friend Cherie uploaded hers. I SO wanted to be first; but at least I finished.

Now the task is editing and reworking what is really more of a relaly long first draft than a true novel. It is a great place to start, but far from a publishable book.

Many have asked "now what?" "Where do you send it?" "Who will publish this?"
Now what? I edit. I common saying through the month of November is just keep writing, December is for editing. Well, for me December is for running the church and leading extra services through the season. But, the next step is to begin at the beginining and edit. Then, . . .

Well, I hve no idea how to begin to get something published. This wasn't about getting something published. This exercse was about writing for the sake of writing. I have wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember and now I have. What an accomplishment. Knowing I have done it is great. I don't need ti published in order to feel accomplished or successful.

For now, I am happy to have my "novelist" pin stuck on the fridge and know I have written a novel.

I am ready to move on to other things.
We'll talk more about those in particular coming up soon.

Monday, November 5, 2007


The fun has begun!
I have a hard time believing it, but I was so excited about this National Novel Writing project that I didn't sleep much the night of Oct. 1st. I kept thinking "tomorrow, I can write." What a geek am I!

It could be, too that my insomnia was in part due to the fact that I purchased a new vehicle that night as well. I have been driving a PT Cruiser for the past 14 months and mostly likeing the adventure. However, only 8 days following my purchase of this bradn-spanking new car I was driving down the interstate when lightening struck my car. I was surprised that that insurance company did not total out the vehicle. They did not. I hve not had any problems from the car pursuant to the lightening strike, however, I wanted to be out of that car prior to the warranty running out. Thus, with only 9k miles remaining in the warranty I was begining to look around.

I found a used Toyota Pruis - my current dream car - and made some inquiries. It hapened to be the last day of the month and the sales people were more than ready to sell a car, particularly a used one. So, the deal went pretty quickly and I found myself driving home in a new car Halloween night - - only hours before the start of NaNoWriMo!!!! I'm sure the two worked together to keep me pumped and awake!!!

Nonetheless, I am writing. I am up to 7966 words and working steadily. I had hoped to write like a crazed person this weekend and push the count up even higher, but I ended up actually having some activities so that plan changed. I'm doing well though and am a bit ahead of the 1667 words a day goal to complete in 30 days.

I just set up my NaNoWriMo site and it is so cool to see my name and my title in print!!! It seems so official or something!

I'm off to work so that I can get home this evening and write, write, write.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Breast Cancer Walk

This weekend I participated in the state Race for the Cure sponsored by the Susan G. Komen Foundation. There were about 45,000 participants. It was so moving to see all the people who were touched by breast cancer in some way. There were thousands of women who have or have had breast cancer. I was there with quite a few from my town. One of the women I roomed with recently was diagnosed with BC. She has completed both cheomo and radiation. She is bald. She whipped off her wig friday night and didn't put it back on until after the race.

It was moving to see all the survivors knowing that soon they may slip from being a survivor to being a statistic. There are so many hurting people in the world. It was very inspiring to see all these women and men who have hope alive in their lives.

I walked with my mother who had breast cancer. I was blessed by sharing this experience with her for the first time. She is coming up on her 6th year anniversary of being cancer free!!! Yipee! I pray she can continue to survive 6 more followed by 6 more and so on . . . .

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Update on Dad -- long overdue

I'm such a bad daughter!
Dad couldn't have had better news.
All the prayers weren't in vain!
We went to the oncologist and the report was that he ONLY had lymphoma in his eyelid.
Strange, but true.
No lymphoma showed up on any of the scans.
Great news!!!
We are relieved and so thankful.
He has to undergo three weeks of daily radiation and scans every 6 months.
That's it though.
Couldn't have been better news.

I was stunned that the prayers were answered.
God certainly heard us and all of you!
It was so hard to believe.
The docs had prepared us that for the lymphoma to be showing up in the eyelid it was already in some other places as the eye isn't a primary manifestation. We were prepared so well, that it took awhile for the good news to sink in.

Thanks be to God!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What have I gotten myself into?

At the challenge of a friend I have signed up for the National Novel in a Month thing. The goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November - 30 days. Eeek!
I hve no idea how I am going to accomplish this fantastic goal, but another friend said today "what have you got to lose?" She's right! So, I'm writing in November.

What am I writing about? Who knows. Some apparently begin on the 1st of November with no plot. That may be me. I haven't gotten my head around the fact that I've signed up as of yet! I want to do this though. I've wanted to write for years and now is as right as any to get serious and start.

Recently, I've begun two books. Still working on them, slowly. I enjoy writing, but I have to carve out time to do it. One of the books I can do a bit at the time, but the other is the story of my childhood and that one takes more of a chunk of time to write. I have to get into the proper mindset and have time to proccess. I find I get into writing after work which usually means I stay up late, sleep too late, am tired and cranky all day. . . it isn't the best routine. So, I'll have to figure something out as far as a workplan. However, not until I finish my novel in November.

Friday, August 31, 2007

RGBP Friday at Five

I'm playing with the RGBP bloggers this friday - my day off!
I'm heading out for my folks in NC following worship on Sunday.
I'm SO excited to have a short vacation and to see my parents.
Play is exactly what I'm in the mood to do!

1) Share a highlight from the summer.

I think I have 2.
I attended a preaching conference in Montreat, NC early summer.
I just love Montreat and the area. It is so peaceful and beautiful.
I feel each time I roll into the little town that my soul is relaxed.
I can take a deep breath and all is well. It is a bit of an oasis for me.

Secondly, I traveled to Birmingham Alabama to visit a specialist in autonomic nervous system disorders and FINALLY had my little tendency to faint or at least come close to fainting diagnosed! Sad, I guess, that a doctor's visit would be a highlight! But having unexplained symptoms explained is a highlight! I am feeling much better, by the way!

2) Are you glad to see the summer end? Why or why not?

I LOVE summer. I am living in Arkansas and the heat is blazing, not to mention the humidity. However, I like it alot. The summer is far from over hear as temps are still in the 90's with no change in sight. Again, I love it. I am not glad when summer ends. In addition to liking the weather, I like the longer days, and the ablity to live without the extra baggage of sweaters and coats! Also, people are more willing to get out and do things in the summer.

3) NAme one or two things you look forward to in the fall.

Football is big here. High school football is a big deal. LAst year our team went to the state championship and lost. This year they have most of the returning players from last year and have a score to settle. They have won scrimages already and area teams are refusing to play our team because they know they will get beaten. I am looking forward to the regular season starting up next week.

I should be clear that my interest is less in football than in the socializing that goes on at the field. EVERYBODY goes to the games and pastors in town get a free pass to all school events, so that's great FREE fun!

4) Do you have any special preparations or activities to mark the transition from one season to another?


5) I'll know fall is really here when ......

I'll know fall is really here when the temps get cooler and their is a nip in the air. We are blessed with LONG summers here, as I said and the calendar has little to do with the seasons.

Ahhhh, summer, you are welcome at my house any time!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


My adopted dad was diagnosed with lymphoma last week.

I knew something was very wrong when the caller ID on my cell phone indicated that my dad was calling. First of all, mom usually makes the calls. Secondly, he is an attorney, it was 9:30 am, and he was calling from work. Billable hours and all, you know?!

My instinct was to answer the phone by saying "what's wrong."
I'm so glad I didn't because something was wrong wtih my dad.
I was really expecting him to tell me something about his mother who is 88 years old. Perhaps she had fallen. Perhaps she was in the hospital. Perhaps she had died. It is amazing how many thoughts can go through your head in a split second.

None of my thoughts turned out to be the issue.
Seems my dad's sister was visiting the week before and noticed a bump on my dad's eyelid. He nor mom had noticed it. It apparently didn't hurt, wasn't red, wasn't itchy or scratchy. It was just there. He made an appointment with an opthalmologist who excised the bump. He said he didn't know what the thing was and sent it for pathological study.

The path report indicated the lump was lymphoma.
The opthalmologist wasn't particularly helpful to my dad.
The doc told him to take a copy of the path report to his primary doctor.
Dad asked if he shouldn't see an oncologist. The doc said "yes, you probably should."
"Well", dad responded, "who would you recommend?"
The doc simply made a copy of all the oncologists in town. So helpful he was!

Thankfully, dad was able to get in with an oncologist in only a few days thanks to a friend knowing a friend of a friend . . . you know how those things work.
The waiting continues.
Bloodwork yesterday.
CT scan Thursday.
Oncologist Wednesday of next week.

We should know a bit more following the interpretation of these tests.
Dad is happy things are moving along.
He is perky and positive, sounds great on the phone.
I need to see them. I am hoping on a plane after church Sunday and going home.
I want to look into mom and dad's eyes, hug their necks, and share love in person.
Mom said she would love to have me there to see and to hug.
That made me feel special.
I'm glad it will work out that I will be with them on the day of the oncologist appointment. God smiled on us with this scheduling.

I'm scared he has lymphoma throughout his body and the prognosis is grim.
It seems that this is probably not the case, but tell my heart that.
I am scared, selfishly, I am going to lose the first man I ever trusted . . .the man who has made up for the horror my biological dad inflicted upon me.
Fear of abandonment I suppose the psychologists would call it.
Yep, I'm afraid that this man who taught me to love and to accept love is going to leave me. I want things to stay the same. I want to know that he and my mom are always there just waiting to welcome me home and bestow me with hugs. That's the way we've always done it!!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Grace (Eventually) book group discussion

RevGalBlogPals is discussing Anne Lamott's latest work Grace Eventually.

I love Anne Lamott and her writing. She is gifted at imagery. I love her word pictures and can simply see what she writes. This was even more true as I "read" the CD version of this book traveling 14 hours to visit my parents in May. It was a treat to hear her words in her voice. I enjoyed worshiping in the same church as she when I lived in MArin County, CA for a year in seminary. I treasure that experience of church. It is an amazing congregation. I was blessed by worshiping as a part of that community.

Here are my responses to the book discussion. . .

1)1. Did Grace Eventually live up to your expectations? Why or why not?

This book actually exceeded my expectations following my reading of Plan B. Like a previous post, I was a bit worried about her with her anger toward Bush.
Plan B was a bit too focused on Bush and hie politics. I understand her dislike (hatred) of the administration, but didn't really want to read so much about it. I was aware of her political agenda and agree, but it was too emotional and LONG. I was looking for more "thoughts on faith" and less political ranting.
This book is more like "Traveling Mercies, I think. I enjoy her candor about all sorts of things and this one was chock full!

2)How much did you know about Lamott and her spirituality before you started reading the book? Were you familiar with the her platform, and did this influence your decision to choose the work? Did the book live up to your expectations of the author? Did it exceed your expectations? Why or why not?

I knew well her stance on things. I attended the same church as she for a year and got to know her a bit through the church.
I almost didn't read this work because of my extreme disappointment in the last (plan b) but found a great deal on the web and purchased the CD version - by accident. However it was a real treat to hear the stories in her own voice, literally!

3. What did you like or dislike about the book that hasn't been discussed already? Were you glad you read this book? Would you recommend it to a friend? Do you want to read more works by this author?

I really enjoyed, maybe that isn't the right word, I was challenged by the essay on "Grace" and the assisting of her friend's death. As a pastor I imagine the day will come when I have to make some similar decisions or at least be aware of someone in this situation. I would probably do just as Anne but not without angst. I thought it a lovely work and cherish the imagery of that couple's love.
I would recommend this book.
I will probably read each new work as soon as she writes it.

4. What do you think motivated Anne Lamott to share these particular personal stories? How did you respond to her "voice"?

I have a sense Anne writes what is important to her whatever the topic. I enjoy her candor and honesty.

7. In one of her chapters, "Wailing Wall," she writes that "anger is good, a bad attitude is excellent, and the medicinal powers of shouting and complaining cannot be overestimated." Do you agree or disagree and tell why?

I think whatever emotion you are feeling is important. One simply has to monitor the expression of said emotion. Anger is a great motivator for change.
I wouldn't imflict my negative attitude on others, but some days it is a luxury to simply be negative!

Shouting and complaining are grat panaceas. I don't shout so much, but when I do it is a great release. Complaining is a constant in my life. I have a wonderful friend and a therapist who both allow me to vent. It is great at reducing my stress. I also like to get it out so that I don't errupt inappropriately in a commottee meeting or at some little old lady who means well, but I just don't want to do things her way!!

9. She writes at one point "I prayed impatiently for patience, and to stop feeling disgusted by myself, and to believe for a few moments that God, just a bit busy with other suffering in the world, actually cared about one menopausal white woman on a binge." What are your thoughts about that?

Waiting impatiently for patience sounds somewhat like the human condition! Who of us hasn't been there?
It is common, even for a pastor to wonder at times if God has the time to really care about my little problems. Thanks be to God that the little problems of mine are precisely God's interest.

10. "I wish grace and healing were more abracadabra kinds of things," she writes in one of her essays, "that delicate silver bells would ring to announce grace's arrival. But no, it's clog and slog and scootch, on the floor, in silence, in the dark."Do feel the same way about Grace and healing or do you feel differently? If so why?

I think grace and healing are at times pretty magical. I hae been blessed to be aware of some amazing instances of healing or "magical" manifestations of grace through answered prayer.

Other times it is scooch and slog waiting and struggling. The other more immediate and magical experiences get me through the scooch and slog ususally . . .until the slog is too sluggish and I just can't take it any more. Who of us hasn't been there?!

Anne is honest if nothing else. I am always a better more insightful person for her writing if even for just a moment. I'm glad she takes the time and honors us with her bared soul.

Thanks Anne for being you and telling us all about it!!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Feeling up and peppy!

I am feeling really good this morning.
I have worked to get my sermon materials together and to the secretary. This is ahead of the game for me as it is Monday morning. Sometimes this doesn't happen until much later in the week.

Also, I worked hard this weekend on my newly started book. I am working on my I am memoir. It sounds so haughty to me to say I am working on my memoir, but I am. I need to research the difference in an autobiography and a memoir . . . Perhaps I'm actually writing an autobiography and don't know it! I'm up to 35 pages handwritten. I'm so proud that I am stickiing to the project. I've tried this before and not really done much with it. This time is going to be different. Actually, it is already different! The project is getting more involved and requiring more research. Isn't that a hoot that I need to research my own life?! I have kept journals for over 20 years and am using these to fill in the progression of things and details that have long since left my memory.

I'm looking into "official" terminology for some things I've been through as well. I suppose I can educate people through my experience as well as expertise! It is a challenge to put all this on paper, but it feels freeing at the same time. It is nice to have the last 20+ years chronicled all in an organized and succinct manner.
I LOVE organization!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

New Ventures

The past couple of weeks have been odd.
I've been extremely introspective and creative.
Generally these characteristics don't manifest in my personality at the same time. I don't know why they don't or have theories as to why they are at this time. The result of all this culminating in my life at this time is that I have started writing prolifically.

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to write a book.
The question I had to answer first off was what would the book be about.
I had some ideas, but the two competing ideas as of late have been a book about my coming of age which included abuse, healing, continuing struggles from time to time, and maybe a bit about ministry. The other topic is solely about ministry particularly in a small Southern town. Both OK options. I had thoughts that I would one day perhaps give some serious thought to one or the other and then many years from now at some undetermined time I would get started.

Stranger than all get-out is that I have begin both!!! One Sunday afternoon I simply began writing. I wrote and wrote. The words were flowing, baby! The even stranger thing is that I have continued writing. I am having trouble not writing particularly when I am home. I first began the book about my coming of age. I don't have a title yet, so it is a bit awkward to describe, but the writing is so invigorating and exciting. It is coming together and I like what I see happening. The process is emotionally draining at the same time. I am thinking and reflecting on some difficult times in my life and it is taking its toll in some ways.

I fell almost called to write this book for the mere fact that it might lend a bit of hope for someone else who is struggling with abuse in their life. All is not perfect in my life, but I have made great strides in healing from some pretty severe trauma and people need to know it can be done. Repeatedly I have been told through the years that I should not have survived what I have experienced. I'm not sure whether that means I should be dead or mentally incapacitated. Truth is I've always been hesitant to know the answer so I never asked the question. While being told I am remarkable in that I survived was encouraging it also seemed to indicate that I should be happy with my status of healing at that time. I shouldn't expect too much in other words.

It never occurred to me that healing wasn't an option. I'm doing OK. I have fewer problems coping than many people I encounter on almost a daily basis. I would love to reach a place in life emotionally that abuse and its scars are totally eradicated from my life; but that is irrational. Everything we experience has its effects upon our lives. I am who I am as a result of my experiences: good and bad. So, I want to get information out there that healing and life is possible following trauma and abuse, even severe abuse. I sought such resources and they aren't available. This is my hope - to provide for others what I desired and couldn't find. I'm excited that I am actually taking steps to accomplish a long time dream/desire. My prayer is to balance my writing and the challenge it is emotionally in this case with life today and my ministry. I don't want writing and the past to color the present too darkly.

More later . . .

I'm a fortune cookie!

You Are a Fortune Cookie
You're a rather normal person, except that you have extraordinary luck in life.People want to be around you (even when they're a little sick of you), in hopes of being lucky too!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

aging part 2

another way in which ministry stinks at times is the constant watching people age and decline.
vibrant, functioning, men and women become lumps of disorder and dependance knowing nothing that goes on around them.

this morning I received a call from a woman's granddaughter-in-law.
The woman has been diagnosed with alzheimer's . . .
I saw her just weeks ago. She had been in the hospital for pneumonia, but seemed her usual self. Now she is already disoriented and wandering around the house.
Things change so quickly.

I questioned the diagnosis since she is declining so rapidly, but turns out it is true and because she had brain surgery years ago for an aneurism the fluid is depleating quickly on that portion of the brain. I really do not know too much about the disease, but that it takes the most vital people and robs them of vitality as well as intellect. The doctor told the family members who care for her he will fill out the paperwork for them to have FMLA for 6-8 weeks if they so desire. That should be all the time they need he said.

Oh, my heart aches.
Ministry stinks at times.
Yet, the woman says a visit from me, the pastor, is welcome and would probably help.
What a priviledge.
A joy of ministry is to be welcome and even wanted when no one else is allowed access to people. I feel honored and oh so lacking in wisdom and knowledge as how to fill such shoes!


Today, child abuse and neglect -
Yesterday, an elderly woman in a nursing home was lying in her own poop when I entered her room. This is bad enough to imagine and to experience I imagine, but the woman also has a bed sore. Can you imagine how painful that must have been for the woman?
She is so sweet and easy going.
She apologized for her state when I arrived.
I asked her if I could get a nurse for her and her reply was "no, honey they will get to me as soon as they can. They are so busy in the mornings.

Oh my, I imagine this is why she has the pleasure of lying in her own poop while her skin is eaten away. . . . so sweet and kind, and this is how her long 98 year life is ending.

It is not fair nor how God intended.
Again, ministry stinks sometimes.

I did report the situation to the charge nurse.
Then, I called the woman's daughter and told her what I had done.
I felt in some ways that I had over steped some boundary.
The woman nor her daughter is a church member.
I know the daughter and the mother, but didn't feel particularly responsible.
Yet, I couldn't let the offense continue.
She got her bath and her diaper changed.
HOpefully some pain relief cream or something.
Ministry stinks sometimes.

Mandated Reporter

Ugh, pastoring stinks sometimes.
I had to make my first report of suspected child abuse this morning.
It hurts.
In so many ways it hurts.
I'm sad for the child. She is, of course, the reason I filed the complaint.
I'm sad for the mother who really isn't capable of doing any better.
I'm sad that any chance of a pastoral relationship is destroyed.
Of course, it is illegal for anyone to let her know who filed the complaint, but I'm confident she won't have too hard a time knowing who it was.
The mother was actually snorting some substance when the little three-year-old girl let me into their motel room. How stupid can she be?
Oh, man, I am drained from the entire experience.
Pastoring stinks sometimes, on the other hand, perhaps I've made a difference positively in the life of that sweet little child.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Possessed computer update

Tech support has no idea what is wrong with my computer.
The took remote access and everything.
Who knows what strange thing is lurking in my HD.
Happily I report less wandering of the cursor this week.
Who knows, maybe just looking for the problem made the little deamon run away scared!
I don't care what the reason or the cause, it is a bit better and for that I and thankful.

"Kids say the darndest things!"

Having dinner last night with parishoners.
One couple brought their darling grandaughter who is 2 years old.
She is so cute, well-behaved, always dressed in perfectly pressed and smocked clothing complete with bloomers.
She is precious.
Her grandparents are in their seventies and quite proper.
The grandmother owns a hoity=toity shop in town specializing in waterford crystal and wexford china to give you a hint at the culture of this family.

The grandaughter thinks I am the cat's meow for some reason.
I love her too. Children are a nice change from the stress and strain of ministry.
So, the little girl and I are sitting aside one another at dinner when she rather loudly says to me: "Dari can we go outside and spit?"

Oh my, the grandparents, mostly the grandmother was so embarrassed and quickly admonished the little girl for saying such at the table. She kept on asking! It was so cute given the family and the situation. This precious little girl with stellar "Old South" upbringing asking to go outside and spit just cracked me up!!!! I love it. I think I am a bad influence on her.

What a blessed friday the 13th!
Hooray for children and the joy they bring to our lives if we just let them. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mingling joy and sadness

My parinishioner continues in the decline toward death.
I saw him briefly this morning.
He is no longer responsive.
His head is leaned WAY back and
he sleeps.
That's all.
Always sleeping.

I had the sense as I stood by his bed saying a prayer
that his spirit is already gone.
All that remains is the body going through its rote processes.
The heart continues to beat,
the lungs continue to breathe,
but the soul has left the building.

I am sad to see people in this condition.
I pray he can be released from what binds him here soon.

Sadness has really been my emotion overriding all else the past couple of days.
It is so hard to watch someone slip away from being an active and vital part of the congregation to being a sleeping mass in a hospital bed. I had to change my focus. I will prepare for the service when the time comes, but in the meantime there are other living members on whom I have been focusing my attention. This has helped my mood dramatically. I have some real dears in this congregation. I was visiting with one lady today who makes me laugh and the one following her just kept telling me that she loves me. The joyous nature of ministry is what I'm trying to focus upon.

Monday, July 9, 2007


A member of the congregation I serve is close to death.
He no longer awakens when I go into his hospital room.

According to his wife, when he is awake he is rambling on about things she doesn't understand.
This man is 91, almost 92 years old. He has lived a long, fruitful life.
He has a loving committed wife and 4 grown children, grandchildren.

Only last week he was lucid and talkative.
Not so much anymore and perhaps nevermore.

His wife is understandably tearful.
However, this tearful woman touched my heart this morning.
She is from my grandmother's generation where you stood strong and never let anyone know anything was wrong. It was rare to see her cry. She cried when her firstborn died. I don't remember her crying when my grandfather died . . . probably did it in solitude.
The women of this generation amaze me with their stamina,
their fortitude,
their outspokenness,
their commitment to family often without thought for themselves.
They always say they are fine no matter their real situation.
And they truly think they are fine.

I'm sad that this life, these relationships, are coming to an end.
It is tough to watch a man filled with life slip away.
The life is slowly leaving the body.
In many ways I think the life (Spirit) has already gone.
We wait for the physical body to completely wear out.

I'm sad.
As the pastor, I am sad because I really care about my congregation.
I was called here to love the congregation and I do.
It is hard to love people sometimes and sometimes, like today, love seems to set you up for pain and suffering.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

My computer is possessed, or something

For the last month or so my computer has a mind of its own.
I guess it goes without saying in some aspects that the computer has a mind of its own . . .
However, mine is no longer taking its lead on what to do from me.
When I am typing I have to constantly watch the screen because the cursor will randomly start typing somewhere other than where the thing should me. For instance, I was typing that last sentence and realized that the cursor had moved to the first line of the post and was typing along up there. It is quite a challenge.

I have had the thing checked out by a "tech-ie" Apparently, there is no virus. The software was all un-installed and re-installed. The problem persists. The next step is probably to send the thing back to the company for diagnostics and repair. That scares me . . . how do I live without a computer for however long that takes? I'm serious. I do everything on the computer. Everything for work that is - sermons, research, emails to staff and parishoners . . . I'm really anxious about the prospects. The one good thing is that the church did purchase an extended warranty with the thing so I'm still under warranty, but how do I cope while sans computer?

I'm embarrassed to admit that I am so dependent upon a machine for my day to day life, but I am a porduct of the current culture, I suppose. What to do, what to do.

My father would say "damn comupters!"

Loving my RevGalBlogPals!

Sermon preparation is so much more fun now that I've discovered the RGBP's. It was a perchance meeting one day as I was procrastinating under the pretense of researching my sermon topic or scripture or something. I think I may have been perusing "TextWeek" when the RGBP reference caught my eye. Well I was so excited to find like minded (or sometimes not) female clergy out there struggling with sermons and being pastors . . . just like me. Of course, it isn't always a struggle. However, this website gives us a place to vent the struggles and anxieties all the while finding support and suggestions from other wise clergy people. What a God-send for pastors like me who are far away from other clergy women and like-minded pastors of all genders here in the "land of the tall pines and pink tomatoes" (the town's official motto).

This Sunday morning I am feeling thankful for the love and support the RGBP's give to one another while not even knowing each other many times. I am SO thankful to have been led to you through the maze of internet information and of course, the Holy Spirit! Thanks be to God!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Things that make you go hummmmmmmmm

The strangest thing happened today.
I called my doctor's office to make an appointment. The receptionist put me on hold for quite awhile. Then, the nurse answered saying "Dari she has dictated a letter saying she is firing you as a patient. She cannot help you."

I was stunned. I was calling for a consult regarding some bloodwork she did last week. No big request, no complex issues, nothing really. Yet, she refused. It never occurred to me that a doctor would or even could do that. I can't imagine what I have done to spark such an action . . . of course, this is one of my problems in life, I try to take on all sorts of responsibility for things that are not mine to harbor. Perhaps she is having a bad time. PErhaps she doesn't like treating women who know their bodies and don't just soak up every word she says because she is the doctor. I am an informed and intelligent woman who takes her body seriously and I often (really always) have questions and my own ideas how things should go.

My mind races trying to figure this one out. Why would one's doctor fire one? Who knows.
A friend says, "oh well, her issue, move on and find a new doctor." Easier said than done. Relationships are important to me and I want closure. I want healthy closure. I want us to sit down and discuss what is going wrong and work it out. Oh well, not going to happen I guess! I am now in search of a new physician. This is hard for me in ways. I am 41 years old and I have only had 3 physicians in my life prior to this woman. The physician/patient relationship is important to me. I need a wise person overseeing my health care. I don't know that I have ever been without a doctor prior to this very day. YIKES!

Oh well, time to move on. . . . moving on . . . moving on . . . m.o.v.i.n.g..o.n. . . . . . . .

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Back at the Helm

It is nice to be back at work after a month leave. What is even better is feeling well enough to be here and to do the job well! I have so much more energy, vim and vigor as they say. The days have been long this week, but I am still trucking along with some added sleep I'm doing well. Hip hip hooray!

The church for the most part seems happy to have me back. I am glad for this for I was wondering there for a while. There has been signifigant rumors and rumbling while I was out. I wasn't sure what would meet me when I returned. Thus far, no one has had anything but positive things to say to me. It is nice. However I have learned just today that the committee assigned to meet with me upon my return is planning to meet with me tomorrow at some point. I have heard nothing about any such meeting. Luckily a member of the committee's spouse mentioned the meeting to me. I suppose I would have been caught out of the office - or worse, caught in the office and off guard. At least I can be mentally and emotionally prepared for a meeting. At this point I am not so anxious, but we'll see what tomorrow brings. I am more curious as to what they are planning to address than anything. I have a hunch about 3 things on their minds, but the other 2 I'll have to wait and see. The gossip I've heard is that there are 5 things they want to talk to me about. I guess I can rest pretty well assurred that termination is not the topic given that I've been back almost a full week and absolutely nothing has been said!

Oh well, it will all be revealed in God's time. I am really OK with whatever comes my way as long as things are fair in their presentation. I keep thinking 1) I do not want to be emotional with the committee and 2) I do not want to sink to being defensive. I want to accept their advice, criticism, and whatever else they speak to me with or about in a postive manner. God help me!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

the old dog DID learn a new trick!

I am so pleased with my "old dog" Henry. He is a stray who moved into a church member's yard a little over a year ago. They kept him for several months and then proceeded to find him a home. Well, he was the calmest and most unassuming dog. I loved him at first sight not to mention he is my all time faovrite breed - beagle. So, Henry came to live with me. He has been great. He is VERY low maintanence which is a bonus for a busy pastor. Basically, I feed him and pet him once in a while. Sounds like a dog's life, doesn't it! HE has a doggie door so he comes and goes to the backyard when he needs to.

Henry spends his days and nights sleeping. He curls up on his bed or in my overstuffed armchair in the den. He doesn't play with toys or chew bones or anything. He is really quite boring although he will let you play with him and pet him ad nauseum.

Things changed for Henry a couple of weeks ago when a new dog came to live with us. I was sick just prior to this time and I discovered I would really like a dog who would cuddle with me. I was feeling poorly. I live alone. Woe is me, I need a dog to snuggle with. So, I began the search for a dog to adopt. I happened upon the cutest little pomeranian just an hour and a half away. Not far when you consider I live that far away from everywhere! So, Pumpkin came to live with us.

Henry was not too impressed. He looked at me with his sad eyes seemingly asking "what is this little monster?" Pumpkin is a barker and oh my gosh can he jump! He is into everything. I have learned a valuable lesson from this dog - shoes go immediately in the closet. Do not hesitate. Go immediately to the closet with all shoes. Nonetheless, Pumpkin LOVES toys. He chews everything. Blessedly, he chews appropriate things except for shoes. So, he has numerous toys. My kind church members have been greeting the new addition to my family with gifts of toys. I have tried again and again to intrest Henry in toys. Especially now that Pumpkin is on the scene. I don't want Henry to feel left out. My efforts have yielded no fruit.

Or so I thought . . . last night I stepped out of the bathroom after a bath to check on the dogs. They were being very quiet. I was a bit concerned. But the, but there they were both lying on the bedroom floor chewing on toys. I was amazed! I happened to have the camera in the bathroom (I have no idea why it was there.) and quickly took a photo to mark the occasion. I imagined no one would believe Henry was chewing on a toy! I called my mother (I'm so silly.) to report this small miracle. She being just as silly as I responded: "Henry? Henry is playing?"

It isn't much, but I think it a miracle. This abandoned and I think abused dog has learned to play. What a joy! I am really sincerely happy about this advent! I never imagined Henry would come around and discover his inner puppy. But the old dog has definitely learned a new trick!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Last night was our monthly Session (Board) meeting. These things are really a breeze most of the time. However, this time I was requesting some extended leave to manage a little medical issue. I was SO anxious I was literally shaking prior to the meeting. I'm not sure why I was so bent out of shape. This is a great group of people and they have been supportive of me since I arrived here a little over two years ago. Yet, I was scared. I realized when I got right down to the core of the fear I was scared they were going to fire me. Now, what kind of church would fire the pastor for taking care of herself upon doctor's orders? Not particularly rational, I suppose.

Thankfully, the matter was quickly decided in the affirmative and I begin my leave following worship this Sunday. One man even spoke about his wife who has a similar issue and how she did not take time out and it took 7 years for her to be able to work. I told him I wasn't sure they needed to hear this! However, his point was that had she taken time out early on it might not have been such a long time for her to recuperate. I reallky appreciated his supportive nature and comments.

SO, I'm coasting this week. I have a Pentecosts banner to complete and a sermon to write and then I'm outta here! Just like Jesus ascending into heaven I am going to ascend to the mountains of NC to begin my respite at beautiful and soul refreshing Montreat COnference Center. I like to think of it as the Presbyterian Mecca! I look forward to some down time while auditing the preaching conference and staying with a friend. By auditing I have the afternoons free each day. Nice! Then, I'm going the 2 hours to my parents for a long weekend. The driving will be a bummer, but I actually enjoy driving and find it relaxing at times. I have the new Anne Lamott book on CDs and look forward to her voice leading me home. I am really excited and looking forward to the time off. It will be a challenge for me to do nothing for an entire month, but I'm willing to give it a try. I'm hoping to get a good disciplined routine established for myself while out of work - - a life long dream. But, with the ehlp of friends and a therapist perhaps I can do it this go round! I've never had a month to try something before. Wish me luck! I am so bad at disciplined approaches to anything. I am impulsive and spontaneous. I struggle with this as a pastor because I want to portray a calm disciplined approach to spirituality and my life, but I''m thinking it might just not be who I am. Something to ponder.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

later than usual sermonizing

Today is a beautiful sunny, but cooler than days as of late. It is a perfect day for lounging on my new lounge/swing on my back porch. I am waiting for the electricial to come install the ceiling fan I found at a yard sale for only $7 (they swear it works) and my little haven will be complete. This is what I want to do rather than write a sermon. It is hard to have a day off and still need to work. However, what is a day off really? It is so rare that I experience one without at least a telephone call from a church member. Not all bad, I like my church members, however, not the leisurely day I used to have when working a secular job.

Tonight, I have to attend a $50/person hospital fund-raiser thanks to a church member being in charge of the thing. I think I'd rather have my tonsils out sans anesthesia. The theme is "bluejeans boot scoot boogie bash". Clever name and at least a new frock isn't required! I'm hoping to scoot my way out from the event early.

I suppose the smart thing for me to do is to stop blogging and head back home where I might even get a few moments on my lounge/swinig before needing to get ready for the "boot scoot". I want to start reading Velvet Elvis for the RGBP discussion in just over a week. I think I have figured out the rest of my afternoon! I'm finding myself with some time on my hands as I am a bit under the weather and trying to heal. It is a challenge to "not overdo". Plenty of time for reflection and pondering. I'm hopeful I will manage some life changes while out of the usual routine - which realy isn't routine at all! Part of the problem I assume. REST RELAX RECUPERATE the 3-R's of my life these days. It is pretty nice to have some time to do this. My conregation is quite understanding and says they just want me here and healthy so I need to do whatever it takes to get there. Thanks be to God.

I'm bummed that some of the RGBPs are heading to the Festival of Homiletics. It sounds like a wonderful conference. I used my continuing educataion funds this year for a trip to ISrael and Jordan. Great trip. Wonderful experience, but now I want to go to FofH. I did manage to finagle a way to attend the preaching conference at a denominational conference center. I am auditing which cuts the cost practically to nill. I am also staying in a friend's house rather than in conference housing and that will dramatically help the cost. So, this is good. I am looking for some collegial interaction, time with my friend, and a few days in the NC mountains. t is so relazing for me there. That is when I'm not traveling to a youth conference with 10-50 youth in tow!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

glitch in cyberspaceberspace

The past week or so I have been out of touch due to some weird manifestation of cy berspace. I was unable to access anything online save my homepage which was thankfully set on my email inbox. Strangely enough, I could send and receive email but not search the web. Any attempt at searching left the screen white with nothing happening. There was no warning, no hints as to why as in an error message. . . . things just went white.

A friend, a great friend now, spent hours and hours backing up all my data including massive numbers of photos in order to crash the system and reload all the software. He did that to no avail. I got the same response when I tried to surf the web. All this sounds relatively unimportant except for the fact that I do major portions of my sermon research on the internet. I feel as if I have been restricted and shut off from the world for the last week. I am so thankful that I was actually ahead of the game last week and had printed out my sermon prior to the computer going haywire. I was afraid I was going to lose everything on the harddrive.
Today, following hours and hours of tech support from both the computer company and the ISP people I am up and running again. Actually, things are even faster than before which is totally cool! However, I haven't been blogging nor have I been able to get up with the RGBP folks and touch base. Nor, more importantly, have I done much in the way of sermon preparation. There is still the weekend, I suppose!
I am amazed by the techno-geeks who work at technical support. They sit at a telephone and rattle off directions for fixing the most elaborate computer glitches. I am SO visual. I need to see the options before me and chose one. I could never spout off the chain of commands necessary for the computer to rise from the ashes and resume function. Hats off to the "Geek Squad". I am most appreciative of their support this week.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day 2007

Today I preached about mothering. I usually avoid the entire subject because I didn't have the best role model or experience as a child of mothering. However, this year it seemed the thing to do. The entire sermon practically lept out of my head onto the paper so I know it was what God wanted dme to say, but I was surprised. I even had this nice reflective piecee about what I have learned from my mother (Betsy). I need to send her a copy of the sermon. I am awed that I can be in the midst of the emotional turmoil I have been experiencing and the health issues springing up and find my way toward thankfulness and objectivity. Perhaps I am growing in depth.

I'm struggling over a suggestion I had this week from one of my health care professionsals to take a month medical leave from my job. I really am haaving a difficult time w ith work due to my trouble slepping, constant steroid prescriptions which wig you out at times, and fatigue. The break sounds wonderful and I want to latch onto the idea. She even said the time would be a guided process. Sounds lovely. I want to do it, but I am afraid should I request time off it might give people ammunition to ask me to leave. I know I haven't been doing my best at this job as of late. Actually, I have been doing my best, my best is the bare minimum these days. People hae complained that I have not been visiting enough . . . truth be told I am not visiting at all unless someone is ill. I write sermons which are borderline decent and I try to show up at the office most days. I'm not too responsive to people and am very tired and overwhelmed at the thought of work. Yet, I think I am right where God has led me. I like the community. I like the people. I think they still like me. Several have stated that it is not time for me to leave. Yet, with my declining performance and enthusiasm I wonder if the Session will be tolerant of the request for a month off. They have been so patient with me to this point. I guess I wonder if I have pressed the health issue too far since being here. I'm scared to ask for what I need. That is the bottom line.

I want to take the doc's suggestion. I want to work wi th hwer to get myself in a better state of health. I want to go to Birmingham and find out more about my "Syndrome" and how best to deal with it on a daily basis. PErhaps they can talk to me about cop[ing and what to expect. I want to feel a bit more in control. Maybe such isn;'t evern possible.

I'm pondering and mulling over these thoughts.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Bored in the southeast

I find I am continually bored. There is not enough to keep me occupied. I try to get a project going to capture my attention - HGTV is a great inspiration for this! However, I seem to get so many ideas that I go shopping for materials and then I don't know which project to start first and I'm overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. Or, not really doing nothing, but doing bits and pieces here and there while accomlpishing nothing of any substance.

Unfortunately, this has eeked its way into my professional life as well. I go to work, late most days, and accomplish very little while there. I take work home and fail to do it. Thus, I am constantly behind and under stress when it is crazy because there is not enough rerally to occupy my time yet, I am bored and doing nothing. It is so silly yet, incapicitating.

I have been diagnosed with a weird ailment over the last few months, almost year actually. I do not have enough fluid in my body. One doc told me it is like running a car with a quart too little oil. The ramification of this is that I can faint if I stand or sit in one position for too long. Now isn't that a great malady for a preacher?! I also have palpatations from time to time which seem to randomly occur and go away as mysteriously as they came. Medication may or may not work. The most wonderful (sarcasm) part of this ailment is the mood swings and anxiety. I turn into a person I like none at all. I am anxious, irritable, and have no patience for anything. This is not the person I know myself to be. I asked the doc why all this is happening. Of course, who knows, right? Things happen. However, her response was that it is probably due to extreme stress I've experienced in the last year or so. My body and coping mechanisms have had enough and the result is what feels to me like a total meltdown. I pray for some resolve, or at least some support. I found a blog on the web for those with this autonomic disorder and it is totally depressing. The folks function very little. The slightest output of energy seems to totally drain them. Many are on disability. I cannot go there. I am a single woman making it on my own and there is no option of not being able to work and going on disability.
I am frustrated and feeling pretty isolated. I think the people who usually support me emotionally are getting tired of my saga. I guess I am on the pity pot today. Maybe tomorrow will be better!