Friday, September 29, 2006

Group Hugs

From this week's Friday Five at RevGalBlogPals:

1. Tell us about any group(s) you currently belong to.
I'm assuming you don't mean all of the "study groups" I have in my on-line classes! AI YI YI!!! Anyway... Right now the groups I'm in include:

  • A "Moms in Touch" prayer group that meets every other week to pray for the students at our high school. All of us have high school students, all of us are believers (though some of our kids are slogging through their own questions about their personal faith walk!)
  • A praise band that serves on a rotating schedule.
  • A leadership team (called a "cadre", though I am an ex-officio member) for a spring "Walk to Emmaus" weekend.
  • A small group Bible study for singles that my husband and I host and lead here in our home.
  • A large extended family, most of whom live out of state, sadly.
2. Do you feel energized or drained by being in a group situation? If the answer is "it depends," on what does it depend?
Oh, very energized! I have actually cut back on my groups because of school. Yes, I'm a real introvert.... NOT!

3. Is there a role you naturally find yourself playing in group situations? That is, do you naturally fall into the leader role, or the one who always makes sure the new person feels welcome, or the quiet one who sits back and lets others shine, or the host?
I am a "jump-in-with-both-feet" type person. Interestingly, none of the groups listed above do I have a primary responsibility. But I'm not a shadow member either. (I hear my husband chuckling...)

4. Handshakes vs. hugs: discuss.
You HAVE to respect personal space bubbles, here...
  • Emmaus - hugs. Always.
  • MIT - neither.
  • Praise team - neither, though there are people I know well who always get a hug.
  • Small group - some prefer a handshake, a few always want a hug.
  • Family - hugs, hugs, hugs.

5. Ice breakers: a playful way to build community in a lighthearted manner, or a complete and utter hell of forced fun and awkwardness?

I do not particularly like them. However, they do help set safe boundaries for discussion. As long as they are not too contrived, they work.

One ice breaker I frequently use (esp. if the group does not know each other) is a favorite kind of ice cream. And if someone is lactose intolerant, they share their favorite kind of frozen dessert. Haven't found anyone yet who can't come up with a popsicle or SOMETHING that they would walk on nails for on a 110 degree day.

And yes, the biggest self-discipline I have to exercise is limiting my social aka "group" time so that I can get my studying and chores done. I suspect that this will be my life-long struggle in ministry...

from our home to yours...


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Agassiz and the Fish

It's time to revamp and write more on the same Markan passage. It turns out that I did the assignment incorrectly so I have to re-do the last portion of analysis. I'm glad I emailed the professor and asked... I think.

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! (There's my small primal scream!)

It's OK. I have time to fix it. Yes, there's other things due tomorrow...

All I can think of is the classic parable of Agassiz and the Fish! I might be up to only a mild state of decomposition by the time I have this done.

And then, huzzah, huzzah, I have to start the process all over again for the next segment, but with more bells and whistles to discover. Yes, my brain still hurts...

From our home to yours...


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My brain hurts...

Hours and HOURS were spent today alone on Mark 2:1-3:6 and I am not done. This is on top of several hours over the last 10 days. THIS IS CRAZY! I have 2 days left to finish it before the weekend and all of its madness descends.

I know I'm not alone in this... there must be other seminarians with their late-night WAGs being conformed to a Turabian format...

I know this is building block work I'm doing... and I need this skill desperately...

I'm keeping the end goal in mind, pressing on... and wishing I could fast-forward my credit hours, since I can't fast forward time.

I think 2 am, 4 am, 6 am etc feedings were easier than this... You can quote me on that!

From our home to yours...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


They're 4-0! Why not celebrate it? Besides, I was tired of the other template anyway. Too vanilla...

Humming La Regiment as I go... (you can too! Broadband download of Script Ohio is HERE!)

And yes, I was in several Script Ohio's in my time in TBDBITL.

From our (scarlet and grey) home to yours...


Monday, September 25, 2006

Food For Thought...

Recently posted in Ekklesia

"Evangelicalism has become a synonym, in popular understanding, for moralising bigotry, fundamentalism and reactivity," according to the Revd Joel Edwards, general director of the Evangelical Alliance.

He made the comments in a hard-hitting piece for the Alliance's Idea magazine, where he appealed for internal evangelical unity and urged a rethinking of how evangelicalism presents itself to the wider world.

He is damning about how evangelicals are perceived generally, saying, "We come across as judgmental and obnoxious. There are plenty of caricatures and misrepresentations out there, but too often we perpetuate them by our actions."

...I believe that Rev. Edwards has been reading the caricatures of Christians in my local paper...

Just something I'm chewing on...

From your home to yours,

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I am a woman of limited letters...

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Yup, it's true... I am a woman of limited letters...

That's pretty much how things were last week for me. I ended up with the Scrabble hand you see above for the last three rounds of a game (and with no open vowels on the board). Pretty scrambled stuff with no way to play, and no Vanna White to buy me a vowel! No way to play the game... None at all. My limitations were pretty clear. And it fits my week perfectly, because I have had a week of praying and thinking about a ministry opportunity before me.

It's not that I didn't want to do it. It has just taken me, oh, 25 years or so to figure out that I do not have to do everything that crosses my path. I know you introverts out there are saying, "finally!! She gets it!" And the rest of you, extroverts like me are saying, "What HUH???" Seriously, I have been considering not doing something... very strange for me.

However, this week, as a matter of discipline, I forced myself to think it through first. To count the cost and be sure that I am in obedience by saying "yes". Asking God to show me His BEST, not His "OK, if you must". (There's a BIG BIG difference between the two!) I don't have much to offer... my limited letters are perfect for God to use and fill in my gaps, which are many.

As I've prayed, I have listened to a song by Kathryn Scott, which has moved me to tears...
Search me, know me, try me and see,
every worthless affection hidden in me
all I'm asking for is that You'd cleanse me, Lord...

From our home to yours...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday Five - Boo Boo Alert

From RevGalBlogPals -- The Friday Five this week is "Boo boo alert!"
Image and video hosting by TinyPicThanks, boo boo bunny...

1) Are you a baby about small injuries?
Depends on who's watching and how much I have to do at that moment. (At least I'm honest...)

2) What's the silliest way you have ever hurt yourself?
Breaking two toes from walking into a wall. (I guess it's smarter to try and walk on the water!)

3) Who took care of your boo-boos when you were a child?

Mom... but we weren't allowed to bleed over the rug! (long story!...)

4) Are you a good nurse when others have boo-boos?
As long as nothing is too bloody or dismembered... yes.

5) What's the worst accidental injury you've suffered? Did it require a trip to the Emergency Room? I seem to have a knack for injuring my extremeties! I shut my fingers in a sliding glass door and broke two digits in my left hand. I ended up at the ER only because my fingers were swelling and turning colors... and I had a recital the next day! There was not much they could do except tell me "Don't do that" (duh) and relieve the pressure under my fingernails. (ow ow ow ow!!!) And, oh yes, someone else played in the recital.

BooBoo Bunnies used to be a lot of help. Now we are at the stage in parenting where the booboo's are on the inside more than the outside...

From our home to yours...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Humor Me...

From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, Good Lord, deliver us.
- Saint Teresa of Avila

It is the heart that is unsure of its God that is afraid to laugh.
- George MacDonald

Nuff said!

From our home to yours...


Monday, September 18, 2006

A Divine Conspirator

Perhaps it's because I am so up-to-my-eyeballs in the basic study of the Bible right now. Perhaps it's because I am also slogging through some introspection in my Spiritual Formation class. Or perhaps it's because I have more questions than answers in the refining process of what my "ministry focus" will be someday.

I don't know the reason/s, but I am really pondering the article "A Divine Conspirator" by Christine Scheller. She wrote about Dallas Willard in a recent Christianity Today article.

"Generally, what I find is that the ordinary people who come to church are basically running their lives on their own, utilizing 'the arm of the flesh' -- their natural abilities -- to negotiate their way," he says. "They believe there is a God and they need to check in with him. But they don't have any sense that he is an active agent in their lives. As a result, they don't become disciples of Jesus. They consume his merits and the services of the church. ...Discipleship is no essential part of Christianity today."

He says these problems are theologically grounded: "We don't preach life in the kingdom of God through faith in Jesus as an existential reality that leads to discipleship and then character transformation." He adds, "When you don't have character transformation in a large number of your people, then when something happens, everything flies apart and you have people acting in the most ungodly ways imaginable."

The last "great outbreak" of the kingdom of God in the Western world, according to Willard, was the Wesleyan movement, which transformed both people and public institutions "without regard to churches or not churches." When I ask Willard about later revivals such as the 1970s Jesus Movement, he says that they haven't changed public institutions, particularly academia.

(FYI: The full text of the article is here!)

I have no grand application for what he writes. I'm still processing it. And I know that my weakness intellectually is in this area of the philosophical and theoretical. But I have to believe that we dare not ignore what he is saying if we want to see Christ's Church vibrant and growing in the west.

My heart is pulled to the practical, nuts and bolts needs of the contemporary church. That's not programs or ministries, but "doing life with Jesus".

I think when I get a handle on what that means in the 21st Century, I will have gone a long way in defining what my "ministry" actually is.

From our home to yours...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday Five: Brushes with Greatness

From revgalblogpals:

1. Tell us about a time you met someone famous.
I met Woody Hayes, the infamous Ohio State football coach. I was working out preparing for OSU marching band tryouts and he was driving by our asphalt practice field. He stopped to chat because he loved "The Band". Funny guy. Quoted General Patton and told us to "carry on".

2. Tell us about a celebrity you'd like to meet.
Umm.... Jesus? Wait - I WILL get to meet Him some day...

3. Tell us about someone great who's *not* famous that you think everyone oughta have a chance to meet.
My mom. Because she's amazing, wise, funny and doesn't put up with any B.S.

4. Do you have any autographs of famous people?
Nope. Unless you count the photocopied "certificate" my kids got when they graduated from elementary school with "the President's signature" on it.

5. If you were to become famous, what would you want to become famous for?
My scintillating prose. [ROFL]

Bonus: Whose 15 minutes of fame was up long, long ago?
It's a tie: Michael Jackson and Madonna.

Not as exciting as many today, I'll bet...

From our home to yours...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Because I can...

Absolutely no compelling content... just had to put some of these up because. Because. I. Can. And because it was time for a giggle. As Monty Python would say, "And now for something completely different..." (And no - I didn't make them, take the photos, etc. I will credit you if you did... Just let me know! Enjoy!)

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Is this a mouse? A rat?

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Finally! Something to do with all those extra cukes!

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The Red Baron Chicken?

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Are you smiling yet? More another day...

From our home to yours...

Living the Truth in Love...

I was asked the question via email... I think it was a genuinely curious question, not a hostile one. (Though they could prove me wrong!) I don't have an answer yet, but I'll post the question here:

How do you, a woman and an evangelical, find yourself getting ready to be a pastor? Isn't that a bit of a schizophrenic dichotomy?


Well, the short answer is, because God called me and No...

And the rest of it I guess I will learn how to answer (and live out) in love.

From our home to yours...


Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 Memorials

A thoughtful collection of photos and memorials to commemorate the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

Lord God:

I do not have the ability to understand the human heart, or the reasons why we are led to act in evil ways towards each other. I only know that, in the depths of my heart, I would be totally lost without You.

I pray for those who grieve today, that they would find You as the source of all comfort and peace.

I pray for those who are angry today, that You will show them there is a better way than one of violence and aggression.

I pray for those who use the backdrop of pain as a platform for political posturing and accusations. I ask that You, who knows the hearts of each man and woman, reveal to us the reasons for their actions today.

I pray for the world You created, for the warfare and emnity to cease. I pray for You to come quickly, Lord Jesus.


from our home to yours,


Sunday, September 10, 2006


I have to say that I appreciate the candor (and the pain) of the folks who wrote of their experiences in this blog. It's the stories of eight 20-somethings who decided to leave the Church. They were all full or part-time church workers.

I identify with them. And it has been very thought-provoking. There's a couple of reasons...

For one, I was a 30-something when I was bruised and hurt by a church that was pushing the programming button, and I was not hip enough (in their estimation) to stay with the program. There's more to it than that, and I am NOT saying that it was all "their" fault (or all "mine"), but let's just say that it only took me, oh, five or six years to believe again that I had something to offer God's people.

Another reason I'm really struck by their stories is that Ken and I will be leading a singles small group starting next month. Many of these folks have probably had all of the "church junk" they can stand. I don't want to be part of the reason someone leaves a fellowship! I want to hear THEIR hearts and see THEIR point of view.

The other thing that's really making me stop and ponder is that, yeah, I'm looking to go back into full-time ministry during or at the end of my classes... When I read something like this I think either, "well, DUH. Working with people is sometimes really disturbing..." or I think "it's not all about ME, now is it???" And yet -- if I am going to be working in an arena that wants to help grow 20-something Christians as the future leaders of GOD'S CHURCH (not any particular brand - GOD'S...) I need to hear their voices and think about their perspective.

Besides, it won't be THAT long until our teens will be 20-somethings and I sure want to see THEM staying close to God's heart (and not my definition of what that means...)

From our home to yours...


Friday, September 08, 2006

Fairly Simple Friday Five

As posted by Songbird at RevGalBlogPals:

It's been a crazy-busy week at my house as all three children went back to school. In a crowded week we must grab our pleasures where we can.

This Friday Five is Fairly Simple. Name five things you have enjoyed this week.

1. Persuading our skittish cat, Tiria to eat Greenies out of my hand.
2. Spontaneous hugs from kids coming home from school.
3. Fresh raspberries on my Cheerios.
4. New morning routine with Ken: praying as soon as the kids are out the door.
5. Studying NT History under the arbor with the birds accompanying me.

God's grace abounds!

From our home to yours...


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Unlikely midnight messages

Last night was REALLY strange. My bearded spouse and I were sound asleep when the phone rang about 12:45 (a.m.!!!) We both were startled awake. I flailed around, trying to find the phone (which, being cordless, was not in our bedroom!) He kept trying to turn off the alarm (which sounds nothing like the phone's ringer, but that's another story...) By the time I staggered over to find it and answered it, there was no one there. But the caller ID said "Alaska" with a 907 number.

Strange. The only family we know had just emailed us about a ministry opportunity they were looking forward to doing, and that they might need a reference from us. But why were they calling us so late?? I slept with the phone all night, waiting for a return call. We figured if it was urgent, they would call back.

But in the morning, it was stranger still. There was a message on our answering machine, but we couldn't understand it. It was garbled. It sounded like someone was bowling underwater. Occasionally we could hear a voice, and two or three clear words. It was definitely our friends' voices... But why did they call us so late? We had our theories. Maybe they had just gotten off of the phone with other East Coasters, and just decided to call us next... and then said, "OOPS!! FOUR HOUR TIME DIFFERENCE!" and hung up too late.

Well, anyway, we prayed for them as we started our day, and I waited until it was a sane hour their time and called back in the late morning. To say they were confused is an understatement. It was actually funny. They had looked up our phone number for an application because it was stored on their cell phone. They put the phone back in a pocket and at some point, the right amount of pressure in the right place caused the phone to dial us... In the middle of the night!

The good news is - they are fine. And we prayed a little extra for them today.
The bad news is - we lost a little sleep.

Now THAT'S an unlikely midnight message -- but I'll take it compared to what it could have been!

From our home to yours...


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

On deviled egg plates and iced tea pitchers

We are FINALLY past the season of cook-outs and backyard hamburgers!!! I like a good burger with trimmings like just about anyone else, but the process of grilling, preparing condiment plates etc gets a little wearisome. In May, it's a novelty. In August, you bear up. By September, it's "please-don't-make-me-eat-another-backyard-hamburger!" (Now, a burger from TGIFriday's with bacon and sharp cheddar, maybe...)

But the process of both attending and planning summer picnics (and especially CHURCH potluck picnics) got me thinking about the dust-collecting deviled egg plate and iced tea pitcher in my cabinet. Both are required for being a proper southern belle hostess, or at least, to be a hostess with couth. (See, my Momma raised me right!) It's supposed to be a sign of good hospitality, or at least good SOUTHERN hospitality, to have these service items available in your cupboard. Recently, when a friend was here for dinner, I had to stop and wonder: when is the last time I actually USED a beverage pitcher on my table? And why was I not moved to use them that night??

Ummmm... Yeah... Because I don't care to? How very tacky. Or not.

There's a lot of artificial stuff in day-to-day life that is "good manners" and a lot that is just added on. And like the Disciples following Jesus around, occasionally my eyes are opened to how much of a slave to "custom" I have become.

My deviled egg plate is still dusty... And the iced tea pitcher last held irises from my garden. Oh dear... Do I have to give my white gloves back??

From our home to yours...


Monday, September 04, 2006

Thanks, Jason!

I was pointed to his page on women in missional churches of the western world by another blogger.... It was not only encouraging, it affirmed all that I am praying towards becoming. All I can say is "WOW!" and I imagine I will be sending his link to others who need the encouragement, too.

One step at a time! First paper for seminary turned in over the weekend... Still absorbing and learning and growing... And leaving all the great argumentation to those who have made more laps around the track.

Right now it's time to make lunches for the kids, and oh yes, pray before I go to bed.

From our home to yours...