Friday, January 23, 2009

Last minute preaching

I think I really should have one or two generic works-for-just-about-everyone-anytime sermons, so that I don't have to write one out of practically thin air when I'm asked to preach at the last minute.

I was asked on Wednesday night to fill pulpit supply this Sunday--so not just preaching, but prayers, call to worship, children's sermon, etc. Because of choir practice and then staying at friends' house overnight so I could take their older son to school in the morning while their infant was having surgery to put tubes in his ears (he's doing well), I didn't even get a chance to look at the lectionary texts until late yesterday afternoon. Then I had to choose what I was using quickly so that I could figure out the rest of the service and get it to the woman who prepares the bulletin.

So now I'm left to write my sermon. I'm using two lectionary texts-- Jonah 3:1-5, 10 and Mark 1:14-20. Fairly easy, I suppose, as texts go: God calls Jonah to Ninevah but then changes God's mind, and Jesus calls the fishermen to fish for people instead. Call stories, my favorite! I've been letting the texts percolate all day, and have a few questions and thoughts...but not much else. Do I focus on call? On something specific in the Mark passage? I'd love to preach on God changing God's mind--because it's so unusual and probably unfamiliar to people--but I'm not sure where to go with it.

Sigh...I really hope the Holy Spirit is hanging out in my pillow tonight, so I can get up and bang this sermon out tomorrow!

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Year Part II: Looking Ahead to 2009

So after a lot of thought, I've finally written my list of resolutions/goals/intentions for the year. So what if we're more than two weeks into 2009? That just means I've really taken it seriously. I also found I started to get nervous about sharing them. It's a pretty personal process, and by letting others know what my goals are, I'm also letting them know if I don't reach them, which is a little scary.

So here they are, all 13 of them. It may seem like a lot, but they cover many areas in my life, and I've got 11 1/2 months to accomplish them...and hey, 13 is a significant biblical number. Without further ado...
  1. Write every day for 30 minutes.
  2. At least until in a parish position, write one sermon per month.
  3. Once a week or more, post on my personal blog and Everyday Citizen.
  4. Learn to knit.
  5. Complete a 5k race.
  6. Finish all my UFOs (unfinished projects) from before 2009.
  7. Open a second Etsy shop for stoles, make 5 sales, and go to one conference or other event as a vendor.
  8. Expand first Etsy shop: add three new products, attend two craft shows, make 30 sales, join one Etsy team, have one item featured on the front page.
  9. Take the Jeopardy online test.
  10. Read 40 books.
  11. Do two projects in The Art Quilt Workbook.
  12. Be intentional about keeping in touch with people—respond to phone calls, e-mails, etc within 48 hours, and make definite plans rather than just saying we should get together.
  13. Learn to juggle.
What do you think?

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Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year Part I: Looking Back at 2008

A member of a listserv to which I belong listed 100 things she accomplished in 2008 on her blog. I hoped to do the same...but instead came up with 50 things I did or that happened in my life. There are probably more, but it's hard to remember yesterday, never mind the past 12 months. Perhaps this is a clue that I need to journal more!

Anyway, here it is, in no particular order, my life in 2008: 

  1. May- I graduated from Union Theological Seminary with my Master of Divinity. 
  2. May- I unexpectedly received the Karen Zeigler Feminist Preaching Prize at commencement.
  3. July- My sister Katie and her husband Doug welcomed Caleb Benjamin to the world.
  4. June- My best friend Bethany, her husband Jay, and their son Joey welcomed Evan David to the world.
  5. May- My father was laid off from his job.
  6. January- After many days of heavy wet snow, a tree fell onto the deck of my parents’ house on New Year’s Day, causing minor damage to the house and killing the gas grill.
  7. April- I was accepted to In Care status by the Metropolitan-Suffolk Association of the United Church of Christ on my 29th birthday.
  8. February- I found a job as a consultant, working as project manager/copy editor of the Prayer Calendar, a project of United Methodist Women.
  9. May- I moved from NYC back to NH and back into my parents’ home.
  10. May- During the move, I tried to drive a U-Haul through the Bronx and knocked off the passenger side mirror on a train trestle on Jerome Ave. On the way to NH, my friend Darlene had to stick her head out the window anytime we drove to the right.
  11. October- I wrote an article to be published in Response, the magazine of the United Methodist Women.
  12. November- I was in Spanish Harlem when the announcement comes that Barack Obama had been elected the 44th President of the United States.
  13. January- I traveled to New Orleans on a mission trip with my church. We helped build a house, and I fell in love with the city, vowing to someday take my own church groups down to help what will surely be a long renewal process. 
  14. March- I finished my thesis project, a collection of stoles, for which I received a Credit with Distinction.
  15. April- I showed my stoles and received great comments and affirmation of my skills as an artist, particularly with fabric.
  16. November- I preached for an unfamiliar congregation for the first time, in Francestown, NH. They loved me, despite some having thought I was a teenager at first.
  17. December- I led my first Christmas Eve service, and cried in front of the whole congregation (in a good way).
  18. December- A huge ice storm hit southern NH, leaving hundreds of thousands without power. We were without power for 4 days, three trees fell on my mother’s car at once (and also damage the deck but this time leave the grill untouched), a huge branch fell on the front lawn, a tree fell and blocked the road, and our basement, family room, and sewing room were flooded with 8 inches of water.
  19. Summer- I had my own garden in my parents’ backyard. Unfortunately, it’s a cool, wet summer, and although we enjoy some fresh veggies, the harvest was not as great as hoped, particularly from the squash and zucchini plants, which got attacked by a nasty bug.
  20. Whole Year- I wrote 35 blog entries on my personal blog.
  21. Whole Year- My personal blog had 1,626 visits, up from 283 in 2007.
  22. February- I was invited to join a group blog, Everyday Citizen, for which I wrote eight entries throughout the year.
  23. November- I opened a store on Etsy, selling homemade baby bibs.
  24. November- I sold my first two items on Etsy.
  25. May- I painted my room in my parents house a buttery yellow, much better than the lavender it had been.
  26. November- After much struggle and many re-writes, I finally finished my Statement of Ministry for my ministerial profile.
  27. December- I completed the psychological evaluation required for my ordination process.
  28. July- I joined a dating website.
  29. July- I went on my first “first date” in a long time, with a guy I met online. It never went past that.
  30. August- I went on a date with a second guy from the dating website, which lasted 10 hours.
  31. August- I had a boyfriend…for about two weeks.
  32. August- I came down with shingles, which on a positive note were pretty mild and should keep me from getting them when I’m older.
  33. June- I went to Connecticut and saw cousins I hadn’t seen in 15 years, and met the two kids of one of them.
  34. April- I went to my ten-year high school reunion and had a blast catching up with old friends.
  35. July- My parents’ cat, Isabella, went missing after I accidentally let her outside in the evening and forgot to let her back in. She was never found.
  36. July- While searching for Izzy, I made a new friend, Claire, who’s in her 80s. I started chatting with her every day during my morning walks.
  37. September- After finally accepting Izzy was gone for good, my parents and I went to the Humane Society and adopted Sophie, a 5-month old black and white kitten.
  38. June- I was officially asked to officiate the wedding of a friend from high school in May 2009, in Hawaii. Of course, I accepted.
  39. August- I was asked by another friend from high school to officiate his wedding in July 2009, in NH. I also accepted.
  40. August- I was told “I love you” by someone.
  41. January- I took an intensive course on contemplative practice in Buddhist and Christian traditions at General Theological Seminary.
  42. February- I connected with two distant relatives (one from each side of the family) through
  43. December- I finished the 29th book out of my goal of 50 for the year.
  44. February-March- I observed Lent by not watching television, which actually allowed me some pleasure reading amidst the end of seminary.
  45. March- My great-aunt Jeanette passed away.
  46. November- I found my best friend from first grade, who I hadn’t spoken to in about 20 years, on Facebook.
  47. May- Along with Julie, my partner-in-crime, I organized and hosted the second annual Union Prom. 
  48. December- I won my fantasy football league.
  49. August- I finally investigated the trail in the conservation area down the street, and began running there.
  50. October- I began babysitting part-time for two little boys.
Did I forget anything? It's been quite an eventful year, in both positive and negative ways. Overall, I think in 2008 I improved many relationships, re-focused how I spent my time, and became more confident about myself, my gifts, and what I uniquely have to contribute to the world.

So what's up for 2009? I'll let you know in my next post, which will cleverly and unexpectedly be titled, "New Year Part II."

Blessings to all!

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