Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spiritual Practice

Things have been busy here. Classes are in full swing. Homeschooling is busy - sports; classes; and teaching Spanish, Language Arts and Math here at home. Formational stuff - group facilitation, workshops, paid work in RE, site work. All have conspired to keep me away from my computer and email except for urgent matters.

I put my attention full bore on school and formation for several weeks; the house languished, kids started acting out, husband is very quiet. Attention. I put it on one thing to the detriment of other things. It is a challenge to balance it. My brain is often at maximum capacity. My minister told me that she had a dream one night where she had to remember something and kept trying to get the File, Save to work on her brain, but it just wouldn't. Boy, do I resonate with that.

I have not been feeling good about my morning meditation walk for a while now. I've been distracted and I haven't been able to put my worldly concerns aside and focus on the here and now during that sacred time of day. I"ve been searching for something else and have been feeling called to prayer, but still have some hang-ups. I am trying without success to find information on using Buddhist prayer beads and some breathing meditations to help me focus. If anyone has any good resources, I'm all ears. In the absence of that, I made up my own.

Walk, walk, breathe in (God, please help me to be) breathe out (loving and in right relation to all). Over and over for several days. This morning for the first time in a long time, in the midst of a lot of inner turmoil and grief, I felt the presence of peace again. I breathed in the leafy, autumnal air, saw the wispy clouds in a blue sky, and my house off in the distance. I felt safe, and clear, and connected again. Just for a minute. But that was enough.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

To Be Born or Not To Be Born: That is the Question - Rev. Sam Trumbore - timesunion.com - Albany NY

To Be Born or Not To Be Born: That is the Question - Rev. Sam Trumbore - timesunion.com - Albany NY

I am really interested in Rev. Trumbore's question. I have always been an ardent pro-choice person, but in hearing some personal stories of people who are very against late-term abortion because of their own experience with parenting disabled children, and incorrect diagnoses during their pregnancies (which if the advice to abort had been followed, would have been catastrophic in terms of having a wonderful child in their life), I have had a shift in my thinking.

My congregation has started working intensely with reproductive rights this year, and I have mixed feelings about it, quite honestly. I guess I am ambivalent because I wonder if the groups that we recommend are really objective and provide good counseling and education about a woman's options and in offering support, or if they have an agenda that is slanted toward abortion without adequate preparation and support.

Time for me to find out more!


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Friday, October 16, 2009

I love John Stewart

Anyone who uses the word Kerfuffle is OK in my book ;)

Current Obsession

Shitty week aside, I have to say that my newfound obsession with The Airborne Toxic Event is making life much better. Yeah, and they are not hard on the eyes either.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The universe speaks

But how do you put what you hear into practice? Time and time again, I am reminded that I often (always?) put self-care last. I have a crushing schedule this fall but life has thrown me three curve balls in a month - 3 of my children have had needs that need immediate and time-consuming attention (in addition to the usual attention they get, which may not be enough but is probably more than most kids get?).

Daily spiritual practice. Check. I need something more in-depth. Something that I can focus on better. It's not cutting it anymore.

Hot showers with nobody bothering me. Check.

Sleep. Check - I sleep hard most of the time, but this week not so much. Too much to do, no time, and too much worry. It'll come back.

Support. Check. Some fab friends, seminary colleagues, a spiritual mentor and an awesome doctor.

But I am exhausted. I cannot remember ever being so tired. The last time I cried so much was when my first husband and I separated. I am still doing my schoolwork but I don't know how much of my reading I'm retaining. Can someone send me the cliff notes for Judges? Because that's not done, and I can't imagine reading it tomorrow ;).

I'm not sure what else I can do take care of myself other than a spa vacation, which I can't afford in money or time. Getting time alone is impossible as it is.

Just send light, prayers, loving thoughts, lottery tickets, books on tape, whatever it may be. Or if the universe would perhaps like to be more specific about what I should be doing to avert crises (which I don't even believe in anymore), that would be OK too.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ministerial Formation

Mondays are always a challenge, and seem to be more so now that I work on Saturdays and Sundays. Plus I'm doing this gymnastics booster club volunteer thing that I *swore* last year I wouldn't do again...but it's been easier this year! Thank the heavens for email.

Today has been surprisingly productive though. The girls got up on time, did their chores and we got to spend a whole hour on Spanish vocab and conversation today. It was SO fun! What was ironic was that we were learning "classroom" words - chalk, chalkboard, flag, desk, etc. As we sat in front of the woodstove and snuggled and did flashcards ;).

Even Jude and Lucy learned the alphabet in Spanish! Fun times, peeps.

I am very much looking forward to reading week at school. Excel spreadsheet or no, I am having a hard time carving out enough reading time. My husband is now resentful of both spiritual practice time AND reading time. Wheee! My pastoral care class starts this week too, so I expect the reading to practically double, because it's a condensed, half-semester, full credit class. Sleep is totally overrated, I know. But complaining aside (was I complaining?), I *love* all the readings I'm doing, even the Old Testament, which is finally becoming an accessible narrative to me personally, and helping me to put a lot of cultural/religious things in perspective.

My site work at the Center for Youth is awesome, people. I adore my site supervisor. She has a good sense of humor, and is excellent about putting up with all my questions. I imagine there will be new kids there next week, so new opportunities and challenges and stories to learn about. I really need to start looking at my learning contract and figuring it out. It's challenging to think about what I need to learn here as part of formation, because I did this work professionally. I am trying to think of different angles, and how to best serve there, while at the same time, allowing them to use my skills and resources that I come there with.

Every day, I find new pieces of ministerial formation that I am facing - spiritual, family, academic, sociological, relational, community, political. It's awe-inspiring how this program is forcing us to face all of life and transform into someone totally different (again). I also am amazed at how thoughtful the program is at different levels in engaging me to face the big and little questions of life. I am really anxious to meet with my covenant group next week - I am having a hard time being geographically isolated from most of my classmates.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Community Site Day

I had my first day at my community site for my non-internship. They say w shouldn't call it an internship, but that's the easiest way to explain it to the other employees. I'm wracking my brains already about my learning contract. The woman who is supervising me is awesome.

I'm working at an emergency shelter for homeless teens. The house was full today - 12 of them. It was pretty low-key today though apparently that's not often the case. Bonus: I get to eat dinner there 2 nights a week and I don't have to cook it!

I helped a girl with her welfare paperwork, hung out with kids, ate dinner, and watched a movie. I am going again tomorrow and am excited to see them again. There is a lot of turnover, but I'm anxious to see how the overall agency works to refer the kids within their resources.

Not RPD's finesthour

Rochester IMC: home

One of my friends got arrested in front of his daughter and her boyfriend. Yes, they didn't have a permit. Was it necessary to have 30 police cars there and attack them with mace and clubs? I don't think so.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Wellspring, Week 1 + a funny

Well, I co-facilitated my first group of the year, and I am STOKED people, STOKED.

Our members are thoughtful, engaged, open, honest, and they ROCK. I am so excited to be doing this. You should all do it too (how's that for evangelizing?)!

A great discussion on covenant, Parker Palmer (we love him! we hate him! He talks about depression too much!), spiritual direction and much, much more. Don't you want to be me?

Seriously, people, I even did my first truly ad-lib closing. I am visual and like my notecards, but I totally wung it, and it was good. Next session: Spiritual backgrounds/journeys.

My co-fac. and I are a good mix too - he is reflective, funny, and we have totally different approaches. A good mix, respectful, humorous, and challenging!

And here's a funny for the day. I was on the phone with my best friend and signing off - "I have to go. I have a hot date with Joshua," as my husband walks in. He looks seriously alarmed. "Who is Joshua??"

Um, the Bible chapter Joshua? Hello? Hee!! He's hot, isn't he?

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Wow, church was awesome today! At least, RE was. My boss usually checks on the upstairs rooms (school age) and I check on the preschool/nursery set, but she was visiting the preschool today, so I got to go upstairs. WOW!!

These teachers are amazing. So creative, so awesome, so engaging! The theme is deep listening this month, and as I moved through (our newly decorated and gorgeous classrooms) Faith Footsteps, Theater, Notes (Music & Writing), Nature (my favorite room - it looks like a fairy tale forest!), Art, and Movement, it was SO great!

The kids were all enraptured with the listening - one room was identifying different sounds on an iPod speaker system, one room was playing drums and FEELING the beat and listening to each other to keep the rhythm, one group was listening to music and dancing as they were moved to, one group was interviewing each other in pairs...just so amazing and creative.

I am so inspired.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Brain explosion

I'm in a flurry of thought about covenant, contradiction, feminism, OT vs. NT teachings, H1N1 and WHO recommendations (does anyone know of the IHR (2005) is binding on signatory nations, and if so, how?).