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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Cat in the Hat

I'm excited to be speaking at St. Stephen's UMC on Monday to their Mom's group. They've asked me to come and speak on balance. I did a retreat on this almost two years ago for our Women's Retreat at Messiah. I called the retreat "Living God's Creation in a World of Chaos."
The retreat is based on Genesis. Creation- and what God does in creation- God creates out of chaos. There is always chaos.... what do we do with that?
Do we control it? or do we allow God to create out of it?

Tonight I mentioned to someone that I'd be doing this on Monday morning. I've written about this kind of thing before.... but I said that I was doing this talk on balance and the person responded laughing, "Oh do you know anything about that?" I "joked" back-- Yes- I know a lot about juggling for sure!

Example:
Today I had a meeting in Richmond. Because of this I missed our District Clergy Meeting- but Kevin still needed to be there. Preschool for the girls didn't start until 10- but Kevin actually needed to be at meeting by 9:30 (but that's only the coffee and doughnuts...part). The MOM's group at church meets at 9:15 and had childcare so I asked if Kevin could drop them off then and if one of the Mom's would walk the girls to school at 10 for us. I arranged a ride for Kevin with someone who was willing to leave a little late. I left around 8 to get to Richmond after setting out clothes for the girls. I was so very happy when Kevin called me and all of it worked out :)


Someone may say - why did you do all that- someone may say I'm codependent--someone may say-- why should I find my husband's ride yada yada.... coordinating schedules, making sure calendars mesh--- that kind of works to my gifts, so I do that. I do not feel burdened by that.... but I juggle it - I organize it - I make it work (kind of feel like Tim Gunn when I say that :) I do not make it work alone... :)

But back to the the person's laughing response - "Do you know anything about that?"
I'm not hurt by the comment, but I wonder when I hear this - and I write about this because I hear people say things like this to other folks a lot-... what is it that others expect? Do you ever wonder that when you hear a response like this?

What is they expect when it comes to balance? What do we expect when when we say balance?
Sometimes comments like this do bother me a bit- if I'm completely honest, only because it is a slight put down-- or it could be taken that way. It hits my overachiever button-- where I want to prove to you (whoever the you is) that YES I am balanced- YES I have it all together- YES I DO- and I'll show you!!! and then you'll see!

Why do I care what they think? (It's like I want their gold star...) This is silly, but I think anyone who is an overachiever type person may understand this desire.

My balance may not look like your balance-- my balance is not status quo, static (and truly my life will never looks like level scales)... but that is not peace for me. My balance is about taking the chaos that life throws at me and letting the Holy Spirit sweep over it the way God swept over the dark watery chaos of the beginning and creating something new and good!

Tonight I read "The Cat in the Hat" to Grace and Sophia for the millionth time.

Tonight, as I read these words:
Look at me! Lookat me now!" said the cat. "With a cup and a cake
On the top of my hat! I can hold up TWO books! I can hold up the fish!
And a little toy ship! And some milk ona dish! And look!
I can hop up and down on the ball! Butthat is not all! Oh, no.
That is not all... "Look at me! Lookat me! Look at me NOW!
It is fun to have fun. But you have toknow how. I can hold up the cup
And the milk and the cake! I can hold upthese books! And the fish on a rake!
I can hold the toy ship! And a littletoy man! And look! With my tail I can hold a red fan!
I can fan with the fan As I hop on the ball! But that is not all. Oh, no. That is not all....".
That is what the cat said...Then he fell on his head!
He came down with abump from up there on the ball.
The thought occurred to me that we are all we are all on a giant ball-- and we are trying to balance it all-- and it doesn't work. It doesn't work if you're trying to do it by yourself. The only reason I "balance" at all - is because I am held by the power of God, the Holy Spirit guides, comforts, instructs, holds it all together, holds me accountable, and makes something new...something I would not be able to see. God surrounds me with people who help me to hold it all too- people who creatively help me see, create, and do. There is no way this day would have worked had I not had the community and supportive, amazing, people around us. This is the church! This is the body of Christ. This is what tells me every day that I am not alone. This is what tells my silly overachiever button that life is not about me being an overachiever- life is not about me saying, "I can do it all by myself." (Which my mother will tell you was my first full sentence).
Life is about saying look at me look at me look at me now- I fall and I am broken- and look at we look at us- look at Christ- and see how we are now whole. Whole from brokenness, created new out of chaos.

John Wesley said, "The best of all---God is with us." The other night I was at a workshop where they asked us to think about what it is we love most about our church. We thought about that, talked about it, wrote it down. Then they said, "What if you didn't have that?" The words that came were : devastating, lonely, isolating.

Without God, without church, without community, we'd constantly be falling down with a crash.
But because of God we're whole, because of church we're loved, and because of community we're held together.


I would add to Wesley's quote- that the best of all is that God is with us, and so is- the church.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Listening

It has been forever since I've posted! Lately- every quiet moment is taken up with cleaning, organizing, bill paying, sermon prep, --- and every other moment is visiting folks, email replies, congregational care calls, playing with the girls, story reading to the girls, cooking, laundry, meetings, etc.. life....
I came across this quote posted on Rachel Held Evans' blog-- and it made me smile!
Most Relatable:
Emerging Mummy with “In Which I Can Feel Like Sisyphus”
“When I'm picking up for the eleventy-billionth time, when every one needs to eat and it seems like wejust ate, when we are wondering what to do with our one wild and precious life that sure isn't feeling very wild or precious right about now, when the laundry is piled unfolded and someone spills their full glass of milk on the floor I just washed and the bickering and noise enters its second hour and the house is too hot and there isn't much time for the things that I want to do on the day off, I feel like Sisyphus, futile, pushing a rock up a hill that will never summit


Everytime I turn around - I've cleaned the kitchen to find that shredded cheese is now spread all over the living room... (how did this happen?) Juice has been spilled on the dog.... play-doh is stuck to my toe....
We're still working on potty training our youngest - and that has lots of fun challenges.. While cooking dinner I hear the girls going upstairs and playing dress up- they come downstairs and do a "fashionista fashion show for us"

We're getting back to a rhythm with the girls going to preschool- back to preparing lunches, back to the dash for finding our school bag in the morning because it was not hung up in the "spot"
-- The other day in the car Gracie told Kevin- "Daddy we need to hurry." Kevin pulled over and told her that we did not need to be in a hurry- and all would be well. He wanted her to know that we didn't have be rush, rush, rushing... as we so often feel... We don't want to live in a attitude of go go go stress- but in receive receive grace and give give abundantly....


All this balanced with being a full time pastor at an incredible church. My children are around a lot- and thankfully everyone at church seems to love my children. It helps that they are just awesome awesome kids-- but it can be a little crazy when at the Wednesday night dinner they refuse to eat and only want to run around the Fellowship Hall. But I listen... and I hear joy and laughter. Last Wednesday the girls had some stickers and ran throughout the fellowship dinner giving everyone stickers and hugs. What did I hear- expressions of joy.... contagious....

I took Gracie with me on a visit recently- we took a woman a prayer shawl and Gracie prayed, "Dear God please heal, Ms., Ms. Ms... and I filled her name- Yes, heal Ms. XYZ. Make her feel better. Give her peace. Thank you for Jesus. Amen."
I listened and I hear- the Holy Spirit move as the woman we visited, her husband, sister and I held hands and continued to pray- but no one needed to say anything after that.


I was headed to take communion to a retreat I was leading and Gracie heard me talking to Kevin about getting communion supplies-- Gracie said, "I want us to have communion." We stopped and had worship and communion in our living room. It was awesome. Then they dropped me off to do my retreat.

I have this wonder, chaotic, filled, and blessed life!

I haven't been writing lately- but I've been listening to God, experiencing the power of joy, and doing pretty good. Yet I have been going and going-- and doing and doing and living and living-- I'm thankful for a moment to make myself stop - and share and reflect on all that I am experiencing and hearing. I need this too. I need moments of reflection so that I can listen to what my life and to what God is saying. Thanks for listening.