Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring Sightings

Spring Sightings

Two little girls play in the front yard
Running after frisbees
Making chalk drawings in the driveway
Following each other on scooters
Clumsily and earnestly applying make up on fresh faces

A woman sit on the front porch
Remembering running and drawing and following
Calling out words of warning
Wanting to protect the innocent and the young
Seeing the dandelions and hearing the helicopters and watching
Two little girls play in the front yard.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Morning Psalm

I wake with regret and heaviness from yesterday

knowing I left too much undone
wishing I had gone to bed earlier
feeling full of the wrong foods in my body

I wake aware of the responsibilities of this day
there is work to do
there are people to consider
there are details to organize

And I come to YOU in the morning as I sit in a light filled, toy strewn porch.
And a I wait for youl

It starts with the movement of a tree as new spring leaves start to dance.
My ears hear a bird, then another and soon they seem to be calling back and forth.
And more trees catch my attention - pine trees, green trees, red trees, flowering trees, bare trees
Within my sight I see dozens of trees swaying in the wind
A squirrel runs down a lumb, birds fly from branch to branch, and wind chimes softly sound.

And as I pray, my soul begins to rejoice.
you are here in this new day.
You are here to move me as the wind moves the trees.
You are here to give me today's song
You are here to fill me with life.

And I hear your voice that says "Wake up!" "Live this Day"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

morning mass

I went to mass at 8:15 this morning at St Matthias. This is for my class on prayer - we are supposed to go to three different worship services and experience prayer with others.

I really had a sense of God's presence in worship. What struck me first was entering into the sanctuary and experiencing the smell of the lilies. People were scattered throughout the room mostly on their knees and silently praying. After a couple of moments of feeling alien I found the kneeling bench and also did that. The silence and the smells and the company of other pray-ers gave me a sense of peace and God's presence.

The worship experience was very private and personal. I find it somewhat difficult worshipping in Catholic churches because there is no bulletin and usually no person to guide you. But I just went with the flow and followed along as best I could.

The priest had a voice that was very soothing and the message was brief and to the point. It was about John 3:16 which is a verse that certainly is familiar and powerful.

What struck me the most was how much I like praying on your knees and the silence. We do neither in our church and have a much bigger sense of community. But to start the day like this was really wonderful.

I think I will do it again - without having to for class!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Margot's Psalm

For the wellstreams program our assignment was to prayerfully create something to share with the group. This morning I wrote a Psalm - and this afternoon I created a "picture box" for it.
Here is the Psalm.

Margot's Psalm
My enemies are always present and speaking
with seeming authority
and perfectionist advice
and anxious certainty
They speak words of NO
Dont.....Wait....Not yet
You can't....You shouldn't.... Your time is over
There is nothing new to see To find To be
You need to be Practical
My enemies warn me about losing control
Be careful! You could fail
or look like a fool
Watch out! You could start a fire
Or release a flood
My enemies come with strings attached
Strings of propriety, normalcy, reasonableness, sensibility, self protection
They bind my body and start to suffocate my soul.
And they tell me. This is for your own good.
This will protect you
This will keep you safe.
And I think I am safe and also becoming dry...and bored and isolated and lifeless.
And then I hear your voice
I hear you in early morning hours as you speak your words of love
You come in the noonday sun and show me visions of grandeur
You appear in the night and plant your dreams of possibility
You speak softly and persistently your words of YES
I love you and I have always loved you.
You are my beloved.
I am awakening your soul
I am ignited your spirit within you
I am filling your life with my light.
You can trust me with your life.
You speak and the strings start to fall away
I breathe in the peace you have for me
I move with freedom and dance with joy
I sing the songs you want me to sing
I see the mountains you want us to move.
I listen for your voice today
You speak and the voice of the enemy is silenced
You speak and the world is new and life is a gift
You speak and I am free.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Birthday Weekend

I don't usually like a fuss. Really.
But turning 60 - and having the day be a Sunday seemed like a party was definitely in order.
And it was the most wonderful birthday of my 60 years.

Here is why:

  • Susan and Ken came from Arizona - their very first visit since I have living in Columbus and it was wonderful sharing our life with them. They spent time with Kacey and Alyse on Saturday afternoon at Innis park where Susan established herself as Alyse's gymnastics coach and encouraged her in cartwheels, somersauls and doing "the gull." (wish I had a picture of Alyse holding that pose) We had dinner Saturday night with Marnie and E. and they came to worship Sunday morning, Sunday evening and the PARTY.
  • My friend Mary Wood came from Toledo Sunday afternoon and was early enough to play a very fun game of SORRY with Susan and Kacey and me and then sing "My Tribute" at the gospel praise service and sing quite a few times at the PARTY>
  • Church Sunday morning was wonderful - with three baptisms, the bell choir, the signing choir, the Acts of Faith and every humn and song selected by me as my favorites. (it was birthday, after all!)
  • The Gospel praise service was wonderful and a group of teenage girls came and did 2 signing numbers (one was "Order my Steps) and presented me with this great big birthday card. And again - Mary Sang - amazingly, soulfully, Wow!
  • And then the PARTY - over 60 people with singing all kinds of songs. Highlights - me and Chuck singing "Love Me Tender", everybody doing the "electric slide" and of course the whole place going on with YMCA led by Deric, our pianist from the gospel praise service.
  • And then the best part of every part - coming home and going over the whole day with Susan and sharing a glass of wine.
60 years - and the best birthday. Pretty cool. Kacey and Marnie were the ones who put together the party - what a great gift to me!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Weekend Reflections

Well, it was an extremely busy weekend for me. But satisfying. As I look back, I was with all kinds of people in all kinds of ways. As always, I thank God for this full and rich life that God has given me.

  • At our Maundy Thursday service we passed a prayer blanket around the congregation for Elma who is dying. And some of the weekend was spent talking to her family in advance about funeral and arrangements and visiting her and praying over her. I am not sure how aware she was of my presence, but I always trust that God hears our prayers and that often prayers affect the person themselves in ways we do not see.
  • Friday night I spent 5 hours with our pastors class for this year - 3 12 year old boys. Plus I had Frank who is my partner in teaching them about faith and what church membership means. We watched the end of the movie "Jesus," talked about what a faith decision means, taught them about communion, baptism, the holy spirit. We showed them the mechanics of baptism and made sure that we had robes for each of them for the 19th when they were baptized. We also played games and had pizza in between. Two of our elders came by to share their faith. The whole evening was really wonderful - and one of the boys came home and described it to his mother as a combination of a "lock in" and Camp Christian. I would call that success!
  • Saturday I helped the worship team decorate the sanctuary. Unfortunately the florist was 2 hours late in delivering the Easter flower and when they came half of them were closed (the tulips and the daffodils) They assured us that all we needed to do was put them in a black plastic bag with a piece of fruit. We did that. The next day - it didn't work - Oh well. The church still looked lovely.
  • Saturday afternoon I did Angela's wedding which was a real delight. Angela is a friend of Kacey's and part of my youth group when I served as associate minister in Zanesville in the 80's. Now she is a beautiful and accomplished young woman. It was just wonderful to get to do the wedding and to get the front row seat that I always get in watching the couple do their vows. It is a holy time.
  • That afternoon a homeless man stopped by to talk to me - which was kind of startling. The church was open because of the wedding and he came in and as he said, "poured out his heart to me." We finally got to the fact that he wanted me to pray for him and help him with cell phone minutes - which translated to $30. We have a policy of not giving out money on the spot - which I told him. I did pray for him but he did not want me to touch him (hmmmm) I did give him some food to take with him. This kind of thing is always uncomfortable because you never know the mental state of folks or whether rejection may lead to violence. But I did what I felt I should do and this time it was okay.
  • Sunday was Easter. It started with me finishing the sermon, making a casserole of cheesy potatoes and dying my hair! Reagan woke up first (after me) and asked if the Easter bunny had come and I told her I didn't think so. Am I clueless? yes. Anyway, shortly after that Marnie and Addie were up - and YES - the Easter bunny did come. That was the first of 3 Easter egg hunts for the girls that day!
  • At church we had a breakfast, an Easter egg hunt and then worship. The church was packed which is always wonderful and sort of intimidating. But it was a good service and I think my sermon theme worked. I spoke about "stones" - the stumbling stone, the stone that was rejected, the tomb stone and finally that we become "living stones" after our own Easter experiences. And everyone at the end receive a "living Stone" Now, I did not shre the coolest thing to me - that my name - my middle name is "Livingstone" - Livig Stone - get it? I think it is cool anyway.
  • It is always good to have a full church - especially happy to see Brett's sister and brother in law and Neil from BG. Every person matters, though.
  • Sunday afternoon we had a family party at Brett's sister;s home. It was perfect - perfect place, food, people, weather. They have a large yard and I got to sit outside and just look at the fire.
  • Finally the Gospel praise service at 5 PM - again a wonderful service. We had the Acts of Faith signing to "I Know my Redeemer Lives" and a poet do 3 poems. Great!
I was exhousted by Sunday night - but happy about it all. And extremely glad that today is a day off!

Monday, April 6, 2009


It is my day off and I thought I would clean my bedroom. I decided to get my journals in order.
I reached for the first one (of at least25!) and got stopped and started reading it. It was given to me by my friend Susan in December 1984. She wrote in it: "A place for your record."

I started to read through it and could not stop. It was the record of my prayers to God which began then - through July 1985 - there was a large gap until March 1987. Those years were remarkable for me - because in May of 1985 I graduated from Methodist Theological School in Ohio, in June I was ordained, in July I started fulltime ministry - my first full time job since I had children - as the Associate Minister in First Christian Church in Zanesville, and in August my marriage to Chris Connor ended. I wrote through July. And then the gap.

It is an enormous blessing now - 24 years later to have such a record. It is extremely personal but it reminds me of the pain and the soul searching I went through during that time. I wrote about going to see Platoon (in 1987 when I picked it up again). This is what I wrote:
"I saw Platoon Sunday night. And a though expressed in that movie was this: we have to remember what happened there because it changed us. And I thought that is true about divorce.
And I keep wanting to put it away. Noone knows how much I consider various aspects of who we were, who I was, who Ive become. It is not really an obsession - it is, in fact, a touchstone."

The journal also reveals that I have been working through so many of the same issues forever and continue to do so - discipline, a need to be in control, being judgmental, being anxious.
But I will say that it is clear that always I have lived in a sense of gratitude for the gift of the life that I have and especially my children.

I write this only to say - that journaling is a gift that you give to yourself. You do not have to do it every day - but whatever record you give yourself will be a treasure later in your life.

The best advice that we can all get is to "take notes" about our lives. Our memories are short and our lives are such a gift! Helps us to savor it all.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Is it just me?

Yesterday I got stood up by a friend for coffee. We had made plans a week before to meet at Panera (where else?) and she forgot.
So, I ended up going back to church and calling her and saying something about "miscommunication" and her first response was "My Bad." And then an explanation and apology.

My question - where did "My Bad" come from and why are people - professional people over 50 talking like this?

Is it just me? Am I just a grump? But Geeez - let's go back to "I'm sorry."
Is it just me?