Showing posts from October, 2008

Sometimes It's That Simple

I fell into bed on Saturday night listening to the wind howl outside. It was chilly and the yard sounded restless. We both read in bed for some time before falling asleep, enjoying the silence inside that brought wild noises to our attention: cat fights and trees swaying. It sounded cold out there.

One of my favorite Garrison Keillor stories about Lake Wobegon marks this peculiar transition that happens when the weather gets cold in Minnesota. Suddenly we spend less time on our hair because it’s bound to be smushed by a hat or blown into a rat’s nest. We skimp on the make up because pale skin is too blatant to hide and deep freezes will leave snot-sicles you’ll have to wipe off anyway. In the cold of Minnesota, life is simplified to an animal instinct: we are either out there or in here.

When we’re out there we walk with our heads down into the wind, determined to get in here. And once we are in here, we’re just plain grateful. The little things don’t seem to bother us much bec…


I found my way to the corner booth at Longfellow Grill during the lunch rush. I was surrounded by four other women, new to ministry in the Twin Cities and fellow students with me at Luther Seminary. We have been planning to come together for weeks now.

Soon we noticed that another group of pastors was sitting a few tables from us with two classmates we recognized and greeted. Later, two priests came in, wearing clerical shirts, and were greeted by our laughter and introductions. There we were, more than a dozen ministers sprinkled about the small restaurant, mixing Sunday with Thursday and saying grace over sweet potato fries.

We laughed and shared stories about being new to ministry and the worship blunders we’ve made thus far. We confided about anxieties and joys, pondered the economic crisis and its effects during stewardship season, and talked about the blurred line between Generation X and the Millennial Generation.

Instead of trying to find the official year in history this s…

Saint Teresa

I share October 15 with Saint Teresa of Avila, my self-designated patron saint.

I love her because she was a sassy Spaniard born just as the Reformation was taking hold in Europe. She ran away from home to become a nun and, while sick later in life, started experiencing ecstasy and visions. Teresa was the first woman to be named a Doctor in the Church and dedicated her life to caring for the poor. Her bare feet were signs of service among those with no shoes. My saint’s writings are clever and sarcastic, often referencing her casual conversations with God the Creator and Jesus.

Her story has dark corners and strange twists, which continue to remind me that even the Church’s saints are children of a fallen humanity and entirely relatable. She never lived as though her faith confined her, but instead with great freedom and bold passion.

I knew nothing of Teresa until I spent a week at the hermitage in St. Francis, MN three years ago. Each cottage is named after a saint and the small …

Pumpkin Par-tay

Harvest time! I spent yesterday’s drizzly afternoon at the “pumpkin patch” in my neighborhood, a city garden shop just a few blocks away. We hoisted many onto the scale before choosing six for the wagon. They found a home in the trunk of my car until we could carve them at my parents’ house tonight.

The garage was draped in newspaper and pumpkin guts. We spent happy hour drinking beer and playfully competing as we carved each masterpiece. Matt and Bror used designs to create wolves howling at the moon and a crow in a tree. Spooky. Gabe free-handed a creepy face that reminded me of his toddler temper-tantrum stage. Cara took so much off the top from scooping it out that her little stem had to be worn to the side as a beret. Resourceful.

My dad’s pumpkin was finished within minutes and then he waited impatiently for us to finish so he could start the grill and dinner. The face he carved looked like the same face he carved on each annual pumpkin when I was little. Don’t mess with …

Faithful Fanfare

I was late to work this morning because I couldn’t stop watching the stock market yo-yo during breakfast. By the time I left the house, it had dipped 700 points from yesterday, “fully” recovered, and started wobbling in the red again. Barack Obama and George W. Bush had both given brief speeches addressing the crisis and a man with a clipboard had appraised our home before considering us for refinancing. Europe is also experiencing economic instability and Matt’s face dropped when he realized our honeymoon would have been much cheaper this month.

I need stronger coffee.

It is overcast with streaks of every gray in the sky and a light, restless wind pulls leaves from trees. Traffic is backed up everywhere because even detours have detours during this mad dash of fall road construction. The stained glass angel that hangs from my office window has no light to catch, but she plays her trumpet anyway.

But these things look different once I roll up my sleeves as Pastor. The stock market …