Showing posts from 2012

"close your eyes."



I dusted your baby book today, Jasper. 
That's further proof that this blog is my shortcut to memory preservation. Here I add a photo and write a few words about what you're up to these days. I have real intentions of printing these entries and adding them to your book someday. Just you wait. It will be a font and style inspired by Pinterest and it will turn out 28% as cool as the original idea. You'll love it, I promise.
You stayed home in Yack-Attack Land with your dad this morning - the poor guy caught it! I had a speedy version of the flu on Friday and felt just good enough to lead worship, but not good enough to serve communion bread. I awoke still achey, wishing I could pull the covers over my head and be selfish for the day. 
Not a chance. Not on a Sunday morning and not with several inches of snow on the ground outside! It was crisp, quiet, and beautiful. I relish Sunday mornings there is snow to brush off my car because the street is silent. Everyone else is tuck…


Jasper is not so sure about winter jackets. He puts up a good fight getting into them. He's wiry and strong and determined to remain in one layer come hell or high water. Sometimes I break a sweat before we're done.

It snowed this weekend. I arrived in Lindstrom on Thanksgiving Day wearing a flannel and cropped pants. No - it was so thin it doesn't deserve to be called a flannel. And Sperrys sans socks. Whoops. The rest of the weekend was spent further north and I had to get creative.

It's not that I dislike winter - I just love fall. Everything prior to Daylight Savings Time is precious and fleeting. So I resist between then and Advent One. Apparently, so does my son.

But if you can get us bundled up and outside, we're happier. We take it all in. We get quiet and point to the moon and smile. We're glad for the chill on our cheeks and our warm ears tucked away from the wind.

We are entering the long and dark season in which things get simple. As Garrison Keill…

get in where you fit in.

You folks are shy about leaving comments on this blog. My little statistics suggest that I have more than 200 regular readers, but usually it's a text message or an email. I love that quiet support. You reflect about the work I do or my silly kid or my honesty about the hard and beautiful stuff. And many of you ask how you can help. You want a taste of Zion. You gave a combined $1,000 toward the Lyndale Community Dinner after reading this post. You're part of this now.

We have two big events coming up in the Zion community and you can be a part of them! There's lots to do and, somehow, stuff like this always comes together at the end in wild ways. You seem to like that kind of story, so maybe you'd like to be part of one with me. Know that this manna and mercy is for you, too.

The Lyndale Community Thanksgiving Eve Dinner - November 21st 
We need all kinds of food delivered by this Sunday. Several medium sized turkeys. Dozens of 5 lb. bags of potatoes, dinner rolls, and…

the village

I struggle with the balance of a good and busy life. The funny and defensive layers of this hybrid life ebb and flow. Right now I'm in a defensive place (with a side dish of shoulder-shrug).

I read this blog today. A friend posted it on Facebook and many women I admire had already commented. But I never just happen to read a blog. Being a working mom means a few things have to stop before I start anything spontaneous and personal. So I stopped chopping onions for beef stroganoff. I set aside the meeting notes I was simultaneously preparing. (Because, yes.  I do have a meeting with my music director in my living room on a Saturday.) I listened for Jasper's cough on the baby monitor to see if he would fall back asleep or not. And then I read it.

There are a lot of beautiful women in my life pregnant or in the adoption process right now. They're navigating parental leave and childcare and part-time employment options. And, while I'm usually quite chatty and the first to e…

no thank you

The election is just two weeks away and I'm so ready for it to be over. I'm frustrated and apathetic about a lot of things on the ballot this year. But there is one question that does matter to me.

I care that words in our constitution regarding marriage remain untouched. I care about the state government staying out of people's bedrooms. I care deeply about making sure all people share the same freedoms and rights I enjoy. Call me a social conservative. Or don't.

Many Vote Yes ads suggest that the "traditional, Biblical" institution of marriage is being threatened. Sure. By drunk couples at chapels in Vegas and the rumble of judgmental whispers that encircle affairs and divorces. But, then again, it's always been threatened. Polygamy and rape and economic convenience and concubines and the shame that came|comes from infertility in a world that assumes kids are part of the family plan. For thousands of years, women owed their husbands children and, if th…

being entirely ready

6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

It's the season of gratitude at recovery worship. We're walking through the steps, week by week. Tonight was about single tasking - the act of becoming ready. This means all the stuff that happens before we ask God to remove our sins and shortcomings. This is talking about that quiet, honest, vulnerable space before we do anything about the realization that we are broken. It's the sixth step - right in the middle - and it's a hard place to be.
I struggle with being entirely ready because I'm a procrastinator. I'm always a little late. I get ready while I do other things in the morning and before I go to bed at night. I struggle to set aside time for this kind of readiness.
Ugh. And the way our culture defines "getting ready" is fraught with Land Mines. To Do Lists. Pressures. Deadlines. The notion that we can figure it out all by ourselves. The glossing over of ugly details t…

happy birthday, humble walk

Humble Walk Lutheran Church turned 4 years old today. My friend Jodi is the pastor there. And by there, I mean all over the West End neighborhood of St. Paul. They've had lots of homes in bars, alleys, storefronts, parks, galleries, and coffee shops.

I've been praying for Humble Walk for all four of those years. I've heard stories in text study from Jodi and read articles about Jodi's ministry. I follow the blog on her website and giggle when she makes posts on Facebook. It's clear that Humble Walk is a source of pride for her whole family of four. The girls believe in this church and so does her husband. Because of this, Humble Walk is like an extension of their hearts and home. Because of this, you feel confident about how welcome you are at Humble Walk long before you show up.

Today, I showed up. Finally. After four years of stories and prayer and awe, I walked through the door. And guess what? The first people to greet me were children. Six kids were in worshi…

so you're saying he has friends...

Jasper is a month into his new daycare routine. Mondays and Tuesdays are at my former congregation. It's an amazing daycare center we call "school" since he'll probably go to preschool there, too.

It's been a rough adjustment. He whines and clings during drop off, but they say he's having a good time during the day. He's learning to eat at a table and nap on a cot and play with other kids, but whenever Matt and I see him at the end of the day, he's playing by himself. He's interested in babies and older kids, but tends to keep to himself around other toddlers. As new parents, this makes us nervous about his social skills...and by us, I mean me.  In an effort to be the most awesome, laid back, and casual parent, I mentally micromanage this quirk of his while pretending it's no big deal.

I know. It really is no big deal. Until one day you husband picks up your kid and his day sheet says things like "aggressive", "needed extra atte…

i will never tell you.

Jasper Wade,

I ran across this picture of us today. It's old. In fact, I think I was still wearing maternity jeans even though you were 5 months old. I looked at this picture and thought about all the ways my body has changed since we met and started sharing space. I thought about all the ways you've changed and I've changed. And then, an hour later, I stumbled upon this article. What grace!

There are lots of things about my old body I miss. There are sleek and toned things about my shape that I remember fondly, within this shape that still looms 7 pounds heavier than I was before you came to be. Some people shed this stuff with ease, but I struggle to return to that magic number.

Blah blah blah. Who the hell cares? I certainly don't most days and that's why 7 remain. My love handles are so much more beautiful than that complaining. And so I promise you something, Jasper:

I will never tell you about the things I wish I could change about my body. I will never vent…

and everything in between

Our festivities lasted awhile last night, so I didn't get around to counting the Recovery Worship offering until this morning. I smiled when I found a scrubby, crumpled one dollar bill next to a crisp, folded fifty. That's Recovery Worship for ya. And everything in between.

We celebrated the third anniversary of this scrappy service last night...and everything about it was scrappy, too. I was pretty doped up on cough and flu medication. I can't remember much of what I said during the devotional, but it probably didn't make sense. We meant to plant a tree next to the two from prior years, but my husband convinced me to "call before you dig". I finally did...just 12 hours too late and we were told not to plant until Thursday morning. Oops. So I dragged a 10 foot crab apple tree and its pot into church so it could still be part of the fun. (When you're a solo pastor, people just nod and smile when you say you're bringing a tree into the sanctuary. Such …

oh geez.

Matt and I are watching the premiere of that new NBC drama Revolution. It gets you thinking about if/how you'd survive in a militia, rogue culture without any technology or energy resources.

Meta: "I always thought I'd be a gift to PTA volunteering opportunities, but I stared at the parent helper option list for a long time before finally checking Decorate Classrooms: Valentine's Day Party. Can you believe it?!?! I hate Valentine's Day. What's wrong with me?"

Matt: (Generous chuckle.)

Meta: "Everyone who survives on this show has a skill...something tangible they can share with community. I don't think I'd last very long."

Matt: (Smirk. Long pause.)

Meta: "Oh, shut up. That's why I married you. If the power goes out, you'll be my trump card."

Matt: "I really am trying to think of something! You have skills...I'll think of something. You were really good at being pregnant..."

Meta: "Gross, Matthew. I t…

one and a half.

Dear Jasper,

You are one and a half.

You don't say much with words yet, but you communicate well. This morning you found your shoes and brought them to me. "Would you like help putting your shoes on?" A happy grunt and nod. You crawled up in my lap. I put your shoes on, you got down, and you stomped around doing a little happy dance. "Now that you have your shoes on, do you want to go outside?" A happy grunt and nod. I guessed two things we might do outside before guessing right: a stroller ride. Great! Thanks for planning our morning.
You like all kinds of foods, but especially Ketchup. You saw the bottle on the table at dinner tonight and went for it well before we had a chance to order. Your dad is such a pushover. He started squirting it onto his finger and letting you lick it off. I suggested that others around us might find that less than hygienic, so I hid the Ketchup bottle after a few more squirts. The Rainforest Cafe must pay someone to walk around an…

welcome to the shitstorm.

I go to a text study on Wednesday mornings. It's at a little Irish coffee cafe so beautiful you'd never guess it used to be a porn shop in its previous life. It's all the way on West 7th in St. Paul, which means I must really like these colleagues if I'm willing to wander that far east before a long day at work. And I do.

I've been pretty hit and miss with text study this summer. But Wednesday I showed up on time ready to be fed by a perfect latte and really smart friends. Every time I show up they fill me with Spirit words I can't get out of my head and heart. I need those words this week because this work has been extra raw. Good, but raw. And these preachers are in the thick of it, too.

The texts for this Sunday are about clean and unclean laws. Why do we do what we do? Why do we bitch and moan and judge other people for what they do? What is the point of getting together and being the Church if we look goofy while we do it and confuse more than we clarify?

where are we going?

There were lots of reasons I didn't need to drive north Wednesday night. First of all, it was Wednesday. It was 8:00pm. I was sweaty from another long and beautiful and exhausting evening at church. I had decided not to go to the Boundary Waters with my cousins this weekend. My husband's soccer season started that day, which means the "Meta Show" is not filming new episodes for awhile. It's Matt's turn to be engulfed by work - to come home late and sometimes bring work with him. I've had six months to focus on this new call and now it's time to get balanced.

I drove to Duluth. My kid wore pjs and chugged a bottle and then, as the sunlight faded, his light snoring filled the quiet car. I traded my sunglasses for the real deal and relaxed into the rhythm of I-35. So why was I driving north, anyway?

I still didn't know when I got there. At ten thirty, Mark and Beth came outside, eager to see little Jasper and to help me unpack my car for the night. Th…

a hammock

Two years ago Matt and I got in the car to drive north. His grad school friends were having a yard games tournament in Alexandria and we were due for some washer toss and bags.
But I was crabby and tired and highly emotional. I couldn't unplug from a bad work day and Matt finally told me to, "Reign in the hormones so we could have a good time."
We stopped at the Walmart in Sauk Centre where I bought a generic pregnancy test and two bags of beef jerky. (Classy.) I took one test on the way up, but was convinced it said NO. "That like the line where the line's supposed to be," I confirmed in the car. Then I ate a bag of beef jerky and bucked up for the weekend ahead.
We had a great time and ended up breaking the hammock, which was caught on film. When we got home, I took another test. Still hazy. So I ate the other bag of beef jerky. It was time to pull out the big bucks and get one of those fancy digital ones I'd said was, "for dummies who can't rea…

community is complicated (a sermon)

Look up 2 Samuel 6 online because you're too lazy to go find a Bible.
There is music and dancing and great joy as David leads the people of Israel to Jerusalem – the place God has designated for the holy temple and a home base for the chosen people who have come through the wilderness and into a kingdom of their own. And so a parade forms around the Ark of the Covenant, the cart that carries the sacred word of God and the very presence of divine authority.
It’s an ancient marching band of noise as royal David dances around like a fool and inspires others to do the same. They have much to be thankful for – including this faithful, new king who uses his power to point to God’s glory and grace instead of himself.
And then the lectionary leaves out a big, important chunk – right in the middle of this story. And you guessed it: they left out the confusing, violent part that makes us question God’s power.
On the road to Jerusalem, Uzzah and Ahio were in charge of guarding the cart when the …