Friday, March 30, 2007

I Feel So, So, So....Cheesy!

That's a play on words, folks.

Today, we met up with some of the Hospitables in the Big Little City. After a Jamba Juice fix, we headed out for a walk under the misty skies and ended up touring the State Capitol. What an amazing building! Rab was practically drooling over all the marble (his dream kitchen includes marble countertops...). The kids, predictably, found their way somewhere other than where we were. After a few minutes of searching, we were pleased to find them on a staircase rather than in some in-session Senate or State Supreme Court meeting room.

What a wonderful fix - surrounded by marble, filled with Jamba Juice and in the company of treasured friends. Life is good.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

You're Like Family

Today I received the most heart-warming, tear-creating feedback of my pastoral life. I went to visit a 98 year old parishoner who I just adore. Her 70-something daughter takes care of her. As I was getting ready to leave, the daughter and I talked in the kitchen for a few minutes about how she's holding up as her mom gets weaker and weaker. At one point, she hugged me and said, "I treasure you. You are like family to us."

As if that wasn't enough, as I walked home (the ladies just live a block from me), a man who has been attending our church lately spotted me. I asked him how his latest medical results came back and he said fine. Then he told me that his dad had just passed away on Monday.
We had the most wonderful pastoral care conversation right there in the gas station parking lot.

I love my job.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Today was a great day

Today I went to the Castle. Home. Of sorts anyway. I find it fascinating that the two places in my life where I am renewed, revitalized and re-energized are the beach and the Castle.

I saw my girlfriends, visited with former classmates, connected with former professors, heard Yoda speak, and was known as skdo (not "Pastor Skdo"). Yay. I so deeply miss friendship, connection and being known as a person rather than as a pastor.

Now, don't get me wrong. Being a pastor is great. I just need to make some friends here in Jerusalem. My day to day interactions need to be broadened beyond pastor stuff. I know this will takes time...and, much to my surprize, someone pointed out I've only been at Jordan in Jerusalem for 2 months. It feels like years. Mostly in a good way.

When I returned to Jerusalem, we had an education team meeting. This team, like our youth leaders team, was just formed. We've been doing a great deal of forming lately. There's much that is dead or dying and in need of resussitation. And I have no doubt new life is on the horizon, yet much is requiring a high dose of pastor-as-cheerleader. Sometimes this role tires me out. Well, much to my great surprize, this team is so pumped, so eager to get going, so ready to make some fantastic and radical changes. Sigh. thing they say they want that many people are willing to be gung ho and goal oriented about. One thing they're not looking to me to solve. One time they have their own wonderful ideas ready to roll! Amen!

I'm so proud

Last Friday, as I was walking up and down the aisles of Office Depot, I received a call on my cell phone. I have called ID and I saw that the school was calling. I sighed and guessed that someone was sick (afterall, not one week has gone by without an illness since 2007 began...).

When I picked up the call, though, the principal's voice came across the lines. Principals do not call when your kid is sick - they leave that to the school secretaries of the world (Kind of like how pediatricians assign the task of giving shots to their nurses). I greeted him and then:

Principal: (sigh) Had a bit of a scuffle at recess today.
Me: Really?
Principal: Well it seems that he and 3 first graders were going up the slide during recess and he was not going fast enough for the others. The boys asked him to go faster and Minky responded resolutely that he would go the speed he wanted to go...with that, one of the boys pushed him up the slide, although he claims he was only helping Minky. Anyway, Minky responded by attempting to choke the boy. Boy #2 responded by punching Minky in the mouth and Minky kicked him where it counts. The boys ended up in a scuffle and...well...I guess the good news I have for you is that Minky looks the best of the 4 boys. I guess he won."
Me: Well, Mr. Principal, I always knew the day would come when I'd get a call like this...I guess I'm glad you're the one calling.

Mr. Principal seemed to understand Minky's intense reaction and how his anxiety disorder played a role in said reaction. Minky lost a couple recesses. And I think the 1st graders now know that Minky is the kingpin of the playground, not to be unnecessarily provoked. I'm so proud of my little PK, types mom with rolling eyes and a shaking head.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The illnesses continue blog posts are far from thrilling lately. I believe that I have suffered from anti-creative stress disorder in addition to rotovirus, a rat with skin irritations, a child with an ear infection, another child with some post-viral nasty, horrible cough thing, child with said ear infection barfing on the playground today, and various other familial ailments. Rab has intellegently fled to his apartment near the Castle to avoid the living petri dish known as our home. My congregation is probably beginning to wonder if their pastor still exists. Sony's teacher called tonight and left a message that Sony has 26 missing assignments (I find this hard to believe...but we'll find out more tomorrow). Life is good, right? If I keep saying it, I just may come to believe it.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Now I've Seen It All

I just sorted through my mail. Millions of trees could be saved each year just from the junk mail that pastors receive. Today, I received the straw that broke this camel's back: an ad for This mailing has the following ad (caps are theirs):

A couple comes in with Marriage Problems...
You can see that Anger is part of the root problem. Instead of you taking several hours to walk with them through how to deal with this problem of Anger, you are able to send home the DVD's of "Anger the Destroyer" and "God's Way to Deal with Your Wrong Emotions" for them to watch over the next week.

I'm so glad to know TV and technology can now take over for my pastoral care pains. God knows that as a pastor the last thing I want to do is build relationships and walk with my parishoners. Maybe the next series will provide sermons so I don't have to preach... I wonder if people can be baptized by DVD too.

Coming Up for Air

How am I? Well, I'm trying to be good natured, pastoral, patient, creative and wise. Instead, I find myself overworked, in debt, and emotionally spent. I want my mommy to come and save the day. Instead, she's awaiting divorce mediation scheduled for the 23rd.

Since beginning at Jordan in Jerusalem, not one week has gone by where my boys have been healthy. Each week, someone has stayed home sick at least one day. This week is no different. On Tuesday night (or shall I say Wednesday morning) at 1 a.m., Minky's repaglarity must have been all off - he woke up crying and in pain with an ear infection. He stayed home yesterday and was high maintenance. This morning, Sony felt like "someone was cutting his stomach with a knife from the inside." (Don't think he watches too much TV to come up with that one, do you?) He's home today....or rather, sitting on my guest chair in my office playing his DS. The doctor ran a bunch of tests and said he shouldn't go to school until the tests are back. It's now nearly 1:00 and I haven't heard from her...I don't think he's going to school.

I wish things were better. I know they'll get better. Right now, life kind of sucks. Life as a pastor is managable for the most part - it's the family stuff that's wearing on me. Oh, and the house in need of interior design and repainting, and the garage that needs to be rebuilt, and the mounting medical bills, and the laundry, and the dishes, and the van making a weird noise when I turn left, and not having any deep friendships nearby, and, get the picture.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Look, Mommy, it's Jeeeeee-zzzz-us!

When Sony was about 2, Rab and I took him with us to a Jewish Shiv'ah for the father of a dear friend. It was the last night of the Shiv'ah and we remained in the kitchen during the brief service because so many folks were already in the living room where the service was to take place. After the service, the rabbi majestically brought in the lovely, sculptured menorah. The piece had a Star of David, upon which the candles were placed. In front of the Star was a sculpture of Moses. As the Rabbi entered the room, there was a hushed reverence in the crowd. Little Lamb Sony saw the art and exclaimed as only the best TV evangelist could, "Look, Mommy!!!! It's Jeeeeezzzzzus!" Everyone's breath was held and the reverent peace turned into an anxiety-ridden, uncomfortable, heavy silence. I responded, "Actually, that's Jesus' friend, Moses" and the whole crowd collectively exhaled with relief.

I've been pondering this whole Jesus Family Tomb thing a lot this week. I've been asking people about their reactions and thoughts, wondering how it might be affecting both the faithful and the searching. So what's your reaction to the whole deal? The special airs on the Discovery Channel at 8pm Central (9pm Eastern/Pacific) on Sunday.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Buffett Bound Baby! The Sequel.

Woo hoo! Tickets are in my email for July 21 and July 28, and a supply pastor is in place. Buffett is coming to town, and I'm heading for the lawn! We had to change our vacation plans due to the concert schedule - not the first time we've scheduled vacation around Jimmy's appearances... All is well with my soul.

The rat, the tonsils and snow

Today was a doctor day for the family. Sony had his tonsils removed at the hospital about 15 miles away. I was so impressed with the place. The doctors, nurses and staff were so friendly, competent and thorough. What a relief! Sony has had strep throat 5 times this winter. After the first time, in November, he began experiencing post-strep joint pain throughout his body. Some days, he could barely move. On a scale of 1 to 10, his pain was often reported to be an 11. It's been a horrible experience to watch my beloved 10 year old suffer so needlessly. Somehow, miraculously, the last antibiotic for strep seemed to eradicate the joint pain that had sent us to more than a handful of doctors and specialists over the past 3 months. There's something a bit ironic about the medicine prescribed by a nurse practictioner doing what several pediatricians, a pediatric rheumatologist and a pain expert could not. The more I use and visit nurse practictioners, the more impressed I become.

Rab left the hospital shortly before Sony returned to his room because the Visiting Vet was on her way to the Cute Gray House to examine Legolas the rat. Poor Leggy has scabs all over his neck from non-stop scratching. Ends up he has some weird rat skin mite thing. The $5 rat cost us $100 today. At least Minky was here when the vet arrived - she let him go with her into her mobile vet unit mobile home and also let him look under the microscope at Leggy's hair. Minky thought that was incredibly cool.

We're in the midst of yet another snow storm. At one point this week and at one point last week, nearly all the snow had melted away. But then Mother Nature reblanketed the place with a new white layer. Argh. It makes me cranky. I don't like it. The weather was so bad last Sunday that we actually cancelled church (not just me, but nearly all the churches in the area). My parishoner/pharmacist gave me a bad time today when I went to pick up Sony's prescription, saying, " didn't work Sunday and now you're not working today!?!" I replied, "Well, you know, I'm a slacker." Then I remembered that I had visited a parishoner in the hospital today while Sony was in surgery, so I pointed that out to parishoner/pharmicist and said, "Yeah, if my kid's gonna have surgery, at least I'll schedule it for a day when someone from the church is there too!" We laughed.

Today, the drifts were so bad to and from the hospital that there were places where the visibility was less than 1/10 mile. The roads themselves weren't too bad but the visibility made venturing out a bit scary. The local school, which tends to seldom close or delay, actually released kids two hours early (much to Minky's joy!). I sometimes fear the snow will never let up, which means my garage will never become organized and the moving boxes will take up permanent residence on our porch. The Cute Gray House may need to be renamed the White Trash Gray House if those boxes remain much longer...