Saturday, September 29, 2012

Inauguration Benediction

This morning I had the honorable invitation to deliver the benediction at the inauguration of the new president of Ripon College.  It was such a delight.  I was one of three women on the platform of about 15, along with the female student body president and the mistress of ceremonies.  

They did a live recording of the ceremony, and you can view that recording here.  My benediction begins around 2:10:00.  The president himself is Jewish, so I tried to make my benediction a little broader theologically, but I also couldn't give up the Trinitarian reference.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Coffee Shops

In St. Louis, on the days when our apartment seemed painfully small (gosh, was that every day?) we used to go up to this coffee shop called Cafe Nura (now Abode Coffee Shop) and just hang out and sip coffee.  When Evelyn was really little, we'd bring her up in her infant car seat and she would nap while we chatted, and when she got bigger we'd stick her in the high chair and give her a few books and toys.  I probably wrote about that coffee shop in about 90% of my pre-move blog entries.  

Well, when we moved it was one of the hardest places to say goodbye to.  It was full of so many great memories for us.  So many deep-breath moments, study breaks, and finally-some-adult conversations.  It seems impossible to replace. 

This morning we woke up early enough to go to a new place in Ripon called Palenque (aka Doomsday Donuts) and have some coffee before I had to get to the office.  It's no Cafe Nura, but I like the place a lot.  Plus they have these CRAZY specialty donuts (last week I had a root beer float donut!) and Evelyn would do a back-flip if it meant she could share a parfait with her Daddy.  Who knows, maybe it will become the new Cafe Nura, in time.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bible Study

Coffee and Tea ready for the Bible Study group, even though I quickly learned I'm the only coffee drinker.  
I think that every day I have slightly more awe for the professors and pastors who taught me.  The minute that something seems easy, it becomes very evident that it is easier to watch than it is to do.  This has been particularly obvious to me as I prepare for my Bible Study and Confirmation Class.  

Maybe it's even harder because my theology is so much a "to each their own" approach that I have trouble teaching people something and letting it be.  I very often say, "but I could be wrong; what do you think?" and you know, I still think that's the right way to go when teaching people-- especially the very intellectual group that this congregation is-- but it sure is hard to get a lesson plan together with that approach.  Or at least it's new.  Maybe it's just new.  

Blessed I am that this congregation knows I'm trying on a lot of different hats to find the right one.  Bible Study hats?  

Well, the Bible Study is actually going tremendously well in my opinion.  We just talk and share stories and asks questions.  We don't look for definite answers; we look for ways to live into our questions so that they can be a part of the journey.  

One of my favorite Bible Study moments so far (okay, there have only been two meetings) was today when we read this: 
"Near the end of his life Thomas Jefferson spent a great deal of time editing his own version of the Bible. He took out all of the passages that he found difficult to believe or that offended his sensibilities. When Jefferson was finished, his “Bible” was only forty-six pages long.  By contrast, when I encounter such difficult-to-believe passages in the Bible, I have learned not to dismiss them entirely.  After all, God is not restrained by the borders of my imagination.  But I don't pretend to believe things I don't believe, either.  Instead, I try to keep such passages in the kind of place where I will be sure to pick them up again." -- Martin Copenhaver, from this document.  
I just love this concept-- we could throw it all out and have almost no book left, or we could realize that our imagination doesn't even begin to be capable of understanding this enormous and complex "book of books," but it sure is fun to try.  

Anyway, I don't know what this entry is for.  Maybe to say, "Wow, professors and other Bible Study leaders, you're awesome."  Or maybe to say, "Come to my Bible study!  You won't be bored!"  Or, of course, "Please don't just throw the Bible out the window."  But probably all three.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Well Look at That! An Office!

When I got to the church, somehow the walls in the pastor's office had never received the coat of paint that the rest of the office area got, so I'm fairly certain the walls only had primer on them.  Maybe it was just really white paint...

Anyway, I picked out a color that I thought would go nicely with the photograph that Kristi Foster took and the staff at First Congo Webster Groves gave me. The photograph is bold, but I chose a color that complimented it in a calm and warm way-- it's called Natural Wheat (but it's kind of pinker than it sounds).  A member of the congregation came painted and did a fabulous job.

I also ordered a new desk, because the one that was in there already took up approximately half the office, and I really wanted to have space to meet with people without having to sit at the desk.  So, with a new desk and new paint, and some furniture that was already there and some that I borrowed from the Christian Ed rooms, we created an office!  Voila!

There's a built-in closet for my robes and stoles, a whiteboard that I got on clearance at Target, and a bookshelf waiting for more books :)

Seating area.  Working on getting some pillows or something.

Desk, temporary file cabinet, and a chair the size of Manhattan.  The top of the desk is glass and then the underside pulls out all the way with little compartments for organizing office stuff.  
I have a giant picture window!  It really just shows the back of someone's garage and the parking lot, but I love the natural light it lets in.  
So that's it!  I love it.  It's definitely a work in progress, but I like it quite a bit.  And as for everything's going great here!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Two Sundays!

This morning was my second Sunday leading worship (third if you count my candidating service).  It's probably not a good idea for me to write an entry about how I feel about these past two Sunday services because I'm painfully overcritical of myself.  Really, it's going just fine.  

But anyway, I'm posting because I wanted to share this photo that a member of the congregation took this morning.  As you can see, we have a "no one in the front five rows" rule, but we'll be working on that.  


Friday, September 7, 2012


First let me say that we love our house, we love our church, and we love Wisconsin.

 People have been so kind to us.  We will be walking down the street and someone will stop us and say, "I haven't met you yet!"  The other day, actually, we went to this little diner called Christina's just to have a simple cup of coffee, and afterwards someone stopped us and said, "Welcome to Ripon!  Did you know there are other coffee shops in town?"  

And then for the house-- having space is AMAZING.  I can't even say that enough.  I used to have this recurring dream that I would open a door and discover a new room in our apartment that I didn't know about.  Now, it's like that's come true.  There are TWO rooms that we're not even really using right now (a spare bedroom and an office) that I forget about all the time.  And then I'm like, "hmm where can I put this random object that I don't want in the middle of my living room?  Ah hah!  In the office!"  It's great.  

But really, on the downside, we just don't have enough furniture to fill the rooms.  I'd love to use the office for sewing and to keep the computer in, but we need more furniture and that's expensive.  Also, we hope to have the spare room up and running by October when my mom and Grandma do the Great Gramma Tour to visit Allen and Charis, us, and my Uncle Bob and Aunt Vickie.  This morning we went to a bunch of antique stores looking for some furniture and we found six chairs for our dining room table (we'll probably only use 4 in there and then put the other two somewhere else).  They need some work, but they work just fine for now!

There are two with arms and four without.  

We also found this little model church at the antique store.
I kind of want Evelyn to have a  Dollchurch instead of a Dollhouse.
But really...I'm kidding.  I'm a good mom.  

The real church is...overwhelming to say the least, but I really do feel like I'm handling it well.  Nobody expects me to figure everything out right away, and I just have to remind myself that over and over again (like by writing it in my blog).  My main goals for the first year or so is to just listen to the congregation and to preach well.  I'll be doing other things, like leading the Confirmation and beginning a Bible study with an afternoon session and an evening session, but I'm not going to overdo myself.  The Bible study will be based on the scripture for the coming Sunday, so in a way it will be killing two birds with one stone-- studying something with a group that I would be studying by myself anyway.  

I do have my office set up, but it's still a work in progress.  I'll post photos sometime next week.  

Not being home as often is weird for me.  Sometimes I will get to the end of the evening and realize I haven't changed a diaper all day.  That blows my mind.  And Evelyn is having a bit of a hard time with me being gone,  but mostly I think she just doesn't like change.  I think she's also mad because I decided that now that she's one, I'm not going out of my way to nurse her during the day.   She doesn't like that idea, and the days that I'm home she still nurses 4 or 5 times.  I just don't have the heart to tell her no.  Maic is doing a wonderful job staying home with her.  She's not a piece of cake anymore (she never was, but it's different now).  She's doing toddler-y things, like pulling all of the wipes out of the package, throwing herself on the ground and crying when she doesn't get what she wants, and sitting on Nos's head.  

Speaking of Nos, Evelyn thinks he is the cream of the crop.  She also thinks that she is Nos's sole caregiver and therefore believes that he doesn't eat unless she feeds him.  She has even-- I kid you not-- learned how to throw his toys for him.  She throws them like 8 inches.  Nos is the most poorly adjusted to Ripon of the four of us.  He's not doing great.  He barks while we are gone, and he had a really bad interaction with another dog.  We are really trying to get him onto a schedule and give him a lot of exercise, but of course it's difficult when we're all trying to figure out what "schedule" even means.  

Well, there's the novel on our lives.  We're doing great.  Sometime here in the future I'll be doing another blog overhaul, this time with a name change.  I'm still up in the air, trying to decide between a simple change like "Being Pastor Mom" or "Life as Pastor Mom" or if I want to do something more clever (I have zero clever ideas, however, so probably I won't do that.)  I'm up for suggestions all around-- from the title, to layout, to subject matter.  

Peace be with you all!

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