Sunday, November 30, 2008

thanksgiving blessings

It is Sunday and I cannot help but reflect on the high points of the holiday season

1. Safe travel as Chuck and I went from Columbus to Oswego, Illinois, to Chicago to Toledo and home again. Beautiful weather and great conditions!

2. Being with my brothers and sister. It is a blessing always to be with the ones I grew up with and "remember when"

3. Going to the doctors with Ellen and hearing that her hemoglobin is good, and her x ray was good, and her cough is not a big deal. She needs to gain weight - and I know she will!

4. Seeing Ellen in her new wig - she looks great and having her join us on a walk around the block. This is great progress!

5. Playing "Phase 10" with Wayne, Gail, Sarah, Ellen, Geoff, and Chuck. I don't even have to win to have fun. Nobody breaks into song while playing games like the Gersens and now with Gail we even have harmony. It was fun having Sarah make fun of us!

6. The Thanksgiving dinner - prepared mostly by Tom with help from Chuck. The two of them in the kitchen are a rare treat. And the meal was great - my favorite was the garlic mashed potatoes!

7. Seeing Brian and Huong and going to lunch at a really cool restaurant in Chicago. ( I had the BEST cream of mushroom soup!) Brian seems happy and hopefully is seeing the doctor he needs for his foot problems. And Huong is beautiful and enjoying her life. Good for both of them!

8. Getting texts from my kids during the holiday. Learning that Lindsay (Brett's sister whose marriage I performed in September) is pregnant! And feeling part of the "sofa king" Mad Gab game even though I was not there!

9. Seeing Harv and Lisa on our way home. Spending time drinking wine in the garage (!) and hearing about Lisa's teaching. She can tell stories that just are great! They seem so happy together. (another successful wedding I performed last December!!)

10. Coming home! Being with a man who is willing to spend time with my brothers and sister knowing he would love to be with his sister. Going out to lunch today with Kacey and Marnie and doing the Thanksgiving recap and then home to a fire in the fireplace. What could be better than that!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lock In

Right now there is a lock in at the church and we are really pleased to have 11 kids at it! woo hoo! This is very good for us.

I went over there at 7 PM to gr.eet the kids and do some "icebreaking games" and to guide them as we did 2 projects for church. They put together 115 Advent Devotional Guides and about50 candle ornaments for the 30th of November. And then I left.

Kacey and Marnie are going to play games with the kids for the next few hours and then Frank Gonazales will come in and sleep with them. We will go back and make breakfast in the morning.

I can't help but reflect on all the lock ins that I have participated in over the years. The first lockins was in the late 70's I was working with youth in Lebanon Ohio. We did an overnight at the local Y and there was no intention of sleeping. There is nothing like playing racquetball at 4 oclock in the morning.
I remember doing lockins at Northwest Christian Church in the 80's, playing sardines in the church and finding the best hiding places and being up at 3 am and shoooing the kids back into the sleeping spaces.
I did Lock Ins in Zanesville and in Bowling Green. Some of the stuff is the same in every lock in - the rules, the games, the music, the snacks, the pizza, the movies at the end and the hope that the kids will finally sleep. I have had a LOT of fun with kids and the kind of adults that like to work with kids. It can get pretty silly and it is a different kind of fun for me. One year we had a young male youth advisor bring in video games and that was a huge mistake because there is nothing like 6th grade boys with the ability to stay up all night playing games - they were wired!

I started working with youth 35 years ago when Kacey was walking around in a walker and Marnie was an infant. And now my girls have children older than that. It gives you pause!

What was very funny tonight was talking about music and feeling really old because I don't even have or know what to do with an I Pod. But then they talk about the Beatles and Chicago and Journey and the bridge is crossed a little.

Anyway, it is good to be home - but I know that if I were at the church playing games right now I would really be having a good time! Because Lock ins are fun!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

My favorite things from this weekend

1. Watching Desperate Housewives with Marnie.

2. Playing wordwiggle on line

3. Reading a book yesterday in one day - "The Cat who Dropped a Bombshell" about life in Pickax with Qwilleran and Co.

4. Talking to Addie on the phone who told me that she loves me

5. Talking on the phone to Susan my best friend as she struggles with issues about her Mom

6. Going to my Spiritual Direction class and talking about why Jesus matters

7. Watching a DVD - "Wordplay" - maybe I will start doing crossword puzzles in earnest

8. Seeing Shane - Chuck's grandson - who is visiting from Toledo. He is the nicest kid in the world! Brought pictures from his summer trip to Yellowstone.

9. Knowing that Kacey and Brett are having a weekend away from the kids in Cincinnati

10. Going to church - I can't help it - it is always my favorite thing.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday morning ruminating

I woke up at five this morning with thoughts of my sermon in my head and so here I am taking a break from writing it.

The last two Thursdays have been a study in contrasts of the my life and what I believe to be the spiritual life.

Last Thursday I was at a Catholic retreat center in the company of 5 other pastors for a "Sacred Pause" - a time to be away from normal responsibilities and to be with God. We had Amanda from Wellsprings leading us - but it was a day with a lot of silence and solitude. It was a great blessing for me and I felt like I truly experienced God's presence and God's word to me. And that word is that I am not called to "serve the church" but to "serve God." ....and How can I do that without days like this - days of withdrawal from the world and retreat. It was wonderful.

Yesterday I went to a BREAD meeting. BREAD is an acronym for "Building Responsibility Equality and Dignity." It is a congregation based community organization that works together on social justice issues in Columbus. Last night our church was one of 5 that joined BREAD.
I had heard about it when I first came to Columbus but the time did not seem right. There is a cost - $750 a year. And it also will mean that we will put together a Justice Ministry Team at our church. We now have the funds and the interest in it. Every year BREAD discerns one issu to focus on. Previously the focus was on reducing the payday lenders interest rates from $491% to 28%. It took two years to get it on the ballot - but on Tuesday our state voted on this important issue. It is amazing how powerful a group of committed people can be.

Last night the 28 churches that were present various topics for the coming year. There were sheets of paper all around the room with suggestions about housing, health care, immigration, crime, blight, transportation, etc. It was overwhelming just hearing the needs in our community and inspiring to know that we are now part of a group that works together to really do something about the systems that create poverty and oppression. And what is especially exciting about this is that it is so ecumenical - Christians, Jews and Muslims. Amazing.

I work on my sermon about faith and what we can do to nourish our faith and clearly my two Thursdays are examples of the "both and" of the spiritual life. We have to take time for God away from the world in solitude and we also have to walk right into the world and the most challenging parts in solidarity with the poor.

I feel blessed to have these opportunities.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tomorrow I Vote

It is interesting living in Ohio as we wait for the big day - and it is going to be a big day.

We get ads and more ads on TV, telephone and through the mail.
Many, many people have already voted. Yesterday two women from my church went to vote at 12:30 - and at 5:30 - they were still in line.
I don't know what tomorrow is going to bring.

But I want to vote on election day and I am planning to be at the school at 1:30PM - I don't have a meeting until 7 PM - that should be enough time!