Monday, December 27, 2010

Sorry Folks.

Sorry everyone. Our fall has been insane. In addition to working out life with 2 full time working parents, we had to move just before Thanksgiving because signing a lease without carefully checking out the house first was a very bad idea. We did have some fun holiday time with J, checking out Illuminations at Botanica, driving through Christmas light displays, and jamming to great music at Preachermama's church, but at present I don't have any pics to upload. Christmas week was a pretty big bust at our house. J got a stomach virus on the 19th, and at some point in the week developed a bladder infection as well, which came to a head on Christmas day. We've made 2 trips to the ER this week and we're just exhausted. We're now going to have to schedule some tests to see if the infection is an indicator that there are more urological abnormalities than we knew. I'm hopeful that there will be a time coming soon when I'll have some fun posts to share.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Last week I left for a continuing education event in Chicago. I know that continuing education is not a spiritual retreat, and perhaps the epicenter of one of America’s largest cities is an unusual place to find solace, but somehow, the trip was a real time of re-centering for me.

I left with a brain absolutely reeling on a million levels. Both my Senior Pastor and I would be out of town, and I would be the only one reachable by phone for the week. Baby J decided, on the day I flew out, to try out biting at daycare, resulting in a concerned phone call from his teacher. PreacherDad and I are both still adjusting to our decision to move… in November… to a place half the size of our current home. It’s all enough to make one nauseous.

But in Chicago… I had time.

I haven’t had time in ages. I had planned to work some while I was there, but shifty internet service meant there wasn’t much I could accomplish.

So I walked.

I walked along Michigan Avenue and around the Ohio Street Beach.

I shopped our beloved Trader Joe’s and rode the public transportation system. (I even rode the 147 right past my old neighborhood and sighed with nostalgia)

I stayed up late drinking decaf and catching up on life with friends, and my soul was deeply renewed.

My parent friends soothed my anxieties with their own tales from the trenches. My preacher friends rejoiced with me in the blessing of an appointment where I feel like a respected team member. Friends who hosted me on my last night reminded me that a warm, inviting home doesn’t have to be a 3-bedroom house with a yard and a fence.

I was hugged.

I told dear friends I loved them and heard it back.

I cried with a woman I consider more a sister than a friend over the difficult task of discerning God’s call… still.

When I got on the plane to come back, it was not my head but my heart that was full.

I am giving thanks for that time and for each and every person who contributed to it, and I pray that it will sustain me until May.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gallery of Art

The last few weeks have been crazy busy. PreacherDad and I are actually pretty proud of ourselves that we've not yet actually forgotten J at daycare or left him in a car or something, because the back and forth of our work schedules is insanity.
Needless to say, there've been no lazy saturday afternoons for great adventures and picture taking, so J's fans will have to settle for a taste of his daycare artwork.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

B is for Bird....

James loves birds! He used to sit at the window in Plainfield for long times just watching the robins play in our yard. Last May, we took him to Lincoln Park Zoo and while everyone else was watching the Gorillas, he was pointing and squealing about the sparrows that hang out in the Gorilla habitat. He just loves them.

The other day Ross and I went with him to the zoo for a couple of ours, and since it was just us, we wentthrough the australiahabitat that is mostly birds. He had a blast listening to all the birds' evening calls and looking for them. I took a bunch of pictures while we were there, and am thinking of making him his very own book of birds.

But there were also some other cool things, like the wombats who run loose inside the Australia exhibit....

And it was pretty warm out, so we finished the evening with a popsicle, which is always a hit! I also had to get a picture of his unique sense of style. He's been picking out his own shoes lately, and decided that what this outfit needed were some red sneakers. Rock that individuality kiddo...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just a little late summer Zen

We had a nice warm night, so we took J over to a local park with a great fountain, but the water was a bit cold. He had a blast anyway. Enjoy this video of J.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


There've been no real pictures on my recent posts because I was without my own computer for a little over a month after our house was broken into in August.

Since Preacher Dad started his chaplain residency in late August, that's also when J started daycare. It was a surreal thing to take a school supply list to the store and buy him crayons and scissors and watercolors already. I was veryanxious about how he would do the first day. I knew that even if he cried it wouldn't last long, but you just hate to leave them wailing.
He was so excited to go, but then when he realized I wasn't staying he got pretty upset. I had to leave him sobbing and reaching past the teacher for me. I smiled, told him a confident, "Goodbye, I'll see you at lunch" and then I went to my car and cried before I drove to work.
The next day he was just a little whiny when I was leaving, and by the third day, he ran off to play, only quickly running back to give me a kiss. Now he's eager to go and hardly waits for me to sign him in before running off to play. I love that he loves it so much, and we are both happy andfulfilled, and that's worth every penny.

Ready to go to his first day at daycare!
Isn't his Elmo Backpack cool? Cuddle bear goes with him to daycare, but stays in his cubby except naptime or if he gets hurt.
This last picture is of him heading home from his first day. he is such a big boy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Little Victories

Today I'm just feeling ridiculously grateful for some things that may seem really strange to you. I have this outfit, a pair of brown herringbone trousers and a pink button up top that I bought about 3 years ago. It was a favorite outfit, the kind that made me feel stylish, professional, feminine and powerful.
Then I got pregnant... then I had an ileostomy bag...then I was underweight and it hung on me like a big ugly bag.
Today I wore that outfit to work, and it fit, and I looked in the mirror and recognized that same stylish professional feeling.

To top it all off, I got the results of my bloodwork back and my hemoglobin levels have returned to a good healthy level.
They are little victories, but for me they represent an immense sense of relief, wonder, and gratitude.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm a frequent reader over at a blog called Beauty Tips for Ministers. Its author PeaceBang offers this challenge to the use of the term "little old lady" especially among church professionals.

I admit I have been using this phrase since I was just a little kid, having grown up in a parsonage family. We did it for a lot of reasons, but most of them had everything to do with why PeaceBang finds such language totally offensive. It is true that our family was sometimes terrorized by women in their later years who seemed, by my young estimation, bent on making our lives difficult.
Now that I'm a older, a little wiser, and now in the pastoral role myself, I can acknowledge that much of the behavior we disliked about them so much was indeed a grasping for a little control and power in a stage of life where they were so easily dismissed by so many.

As a young woman who proudly claims a feminist point of view, one of my greatest frustrations has been how often the discrimination I have faced in ministry has come from other women. It is a jarring look in the mirror to acknowledge that my use of the phrase "Little Old Lady" is a blatant participation in the diminishing of women's power, intelligence, and voice.
Not only that, I realize it robs me of the opportunity to get to know them as people. I have been amazed by the stories of a couple of the older women I've gotten to know already in my ministry. Some were in the forefront of women's rights in my own denomination. Others have raised multiple generations of family, and all of them have much to say, much to teach, and deserve a pastor who encounters them as a person.

I cannot promise that I will have endless patience with every older woman I serve. I won't promise not to be annoyed when I receive unsolicited opinions about whether or not my son should still be using a pacifier, but I certainly acknowledge that "Little Old Lady" is every bit as offensive as calling a woman a B****, or The Little Wife, or any of the other terms so often used to silence women, and I will strike it from my vocabulary. Will you?

(The photo here is a sample photo from, I do not know the woman pictured or the photographer who took the photo.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Balancing act

The last month of our lives has been one of major transition. We have moved from the suburbs of Chicago back to Wichita. We've moved into a new rental home,and begun the long process of figuring out what life after school really looks like.
I already feel like I'm in a near-perfect placement as the associate pastor in a large, thriving church. I'm fortunate that with a large staff, I've been able to spend the last month "getting a feel for things" asking questions and watching the daily, weekly and now monthly rhythms of ministry in my particular setting. I'm keenly aware that if I were the sole pastor somewhere, I'd have to dive in a bit faster.
As I have been trying to figure out where I fit into the rhythm of work here at church, PreacherDad and I have been trying to figure out what the rhythms of our home life will look like. His schedule as a chaplain resident is a set 8-5 M-F plus at least one 12 hour on call shift each week. (this should be the same night most weeks, but may move from time to time.)

Being a preacher means that Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings baby J will be in the church nursery. So, we're trying to work my schedule so that including those times, James is in childcare less than 40 hours a week. (30 hours/week would be my ideal situation)

Since PreacherDad's schedule is set by someone else, I'm really feeling the weight of finding a schedule that puts me at work enough to be available, useful and productive but that also allows me to spend some time with J during some of his waking hours. I still believe it is possible and necessary to set healthy family life patterns as a pastor, but I am beginning to grasp just how tough it is going to be.

In the meantime,right on the heels of this article, PreacherDad and I are sending baby J off to his grandma's for a week and heading to Sunny Southern California for a much needed vacation this week.
We are celebrating 5 years of marriage, survival of a major medical event, two seminary degrees and a beautiful little boy, and doing our part to reduce clergy burnout one sunny california day at a time!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


George Carlin has a hilariously funny bit on "stuff" that always makes me laugh. (just be careful, there is some adult language in it)

It has replayed in my mind about a million times as I've been dealing with getting all my stuff from IL to KS. We got rid of some stuff, but then, we inherited new stuff when we got here. It took hours for movers to load up all our stuff, another day to unload it all, and we are going on a week of trying to figure out where to put all of it in this big beautiful house. I am convinced that earlier generations must have had a lot less stuff, because they didn't build houses with room to adequately store an abundance of stuff. So now I find myself buying stuff to organize, hide, display and store the stuff we already had. And then, as I'm doing all that, I am just thinking about the Christian call to simplicity- "If you have two coats" and all that. So, I'm working on a personal goal to pass on more than I acquire in the coming year. I have a feeling my attempts will be very revealing about the relationship I have to my own stuff. I'll share my break-throughs and set-backs as they come. If you've successfully simplified, what was your first step?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day

Before J was born, back when he was just "Stinker," I bought PreacherDad the book "I Love My Daddy" by Sebastien Braun. It was his first Christmas present from "Stinker." I came across that book a few days ago as I was packing, and couldn't resist re-reading it. It's illustrations, by the way, are simply beautiful. Each page features the many things that Baby Bear's Daddy does with/for him. "My Daddy wakes me." "My Daddy feeds me." My Daddy plays with me." "My Daddy yawns with me." and so on... I smiled as I read, because PreacherDad does all those things and so many more.
He is known for getting up when J wakes up early and getting him breakfast. They watch PBS together, and PreacherDad knows -and sings, all the theme songs.
This year he has juggled his office hours around my class schedule so that J only spent one day a week in daycare, and the variety of toys in his office is evidence that sometimes he had to multi-task like a pro.
They're thick as thieves, those two... especially when they are doing something ornery like conspiring to tickle my feet. Nothing brings me more joy than to eavesdrop on bath-time on the baby monitor, as they splash play games, and laugh.
So on Father's day I am grateful for the memory of my grandfathers, for the continuing relationship with my own loving father, and for the joy of watching the love of my life turn into the best father I have ever met.
Even as I lift up my prayers of gratitude for these men, I also pray for so many children who do not have the love of a caring Dad in their lives. I pray that they will find caring, supportive, mentoring men in other roles in their lives. I lift up men who feel they have failed their own children, that they may find the forgiveness they seek and the transformation they desire. I also pray for those men who, with or without children of their own, have found ways to be fatherly to children who need them.
May God bless each of you this day.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I've more or less lost count of the moves I've made, but growing up I moved every 5 or so years, and in adulthood it has been even more frequent. So these are the tried and true moving techniques I learned as a third generation itinerant preacher (this my friends, is probably a whole other post.) It isn't particularly novel information, but it has been very helpful in my life. If you have tips to add, I welcome them!

These tips are true whether you are doing a u-haul style self move or hiring the pros.

1. keep a log. This is a must. Every box gets numbered, and then the contents and desired destination goes next to the corresponding number in the log. If you move with the pros, it will make their inventory smooth sailing and they will love you for it. Either way, you will be amazed when you can easily find that thing you just *have* to have right now!

2. If you can, assign each room, or at the very least, major areas its own color. Tag the box with its room color, and on move in day you can label the rooms so movers, (pro or amateur) can take boxes to the right space. It is so nice to have things in the right room when you unpack!

3. pack things from the same room together. This is the only way #2 will do you any good. Within the same room, you can mix things, say, heavy pots and pans with your dish towels to fill space without making the box too heavy to pick up.

4. Invest in your packing materials and then save them. Good boxes, if treated properly, will last you many many moves, and will save your stuff. Newsprint and bubble wrap are also essentials. Don't skimp, your stuff costs more than the paper! Dish packs are amazing for getting fragile dishes through a move, and they break down flat to be used over and over. Bubble wrap keeps a nice long time, but avoid keeping the newsprint if you'll be in one place more than a year or two. ( Mice could imagine nothing better than an endless supply of newsprint for nesting...EWWW)

5. If you have time, use moving as an opportunity to weed out your stuff and re-organize. sure, it would be easier to just throw stuff in the box, but who wants to unpack a hot mess in their new home?

6. *must have* box: a set of sheets for the beds you need, a towel for each person, a shower curtain and toilet paper should go in your vehicle and be clearly marked.

7. Finally, If you are using professionals, have your stuff packed when they arrive, have disposable cups for the crew to at least be able to have water, and be certain to leave toilet paper in the bathroom so that it remains "in service" throughout the day.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What to wear?

I just spent the last 2 hours packing for a trip to annual conference, the yearly meeting of the regional body of my denomination. Because I'm a preacher's kid, I started going to these things when I was about 10. Of course, as a kid, the requirements for my clothing were that I had some, that they were clean, and that they not have holes in them. Now that I am going as a clergy-person, the situation is somewhat more complex.
I am thrilled that we're not a stuffy, "nothing but suits" group of people, but at the same time, there would be some comfort in knowing exactly what is expected! Clothing at Annual Conference tends to range from hawaian shirts and khakis to three piece suits, and nearly everything in between- and that's just the men! So, the thing that I realized is that when there are no rules (written or unwritten) about what one should wear, the pressure actually intensifies.
Why? Because then what you wear is not merely your adaptation of the "uniform" but is, in fact, a bold statement, and for me, fashion might be the trickiest form of non-verbal communication.
Does a suit say "I respect the importance of what we're doing here" or "I take myself far too seriously" or perhaps, "I'm scared and I hope this suit will distract you from noticing I'm clueless"
If I go for a more trendy, casual professional look, does it denote that I am "young and energetic" or does it say that I'm "not quite grown up yet"
Then there is the element of being a woman, and the attempt to embrace femininity and my natural shape, without being overly sexy or inappropriate.

I know that anumma has hosted some discussion on the issue over at his blog

and there is a blog I frequent devoted to nothing but clergy fashion and appearances,

I'm curious how others, whether you are clergy or not, handle wardrobe decisions in settings where there are no set "rules."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Having just graduated seminary, I'm receiving a lot of congratulations right now. I always accept those congratulatory remarks, and I do acknowledge the hard work I put into my degree. At the same time, I am deeply aware of how many other people were in large or small ways, vital to getting me here, so I am using the absolute license of being a blogger to offer up my sincerest gratitude.
To my parents, who raised me to think critically, and never "dumbed down" dinner conversations. Our dining room table was my first university. I love you both dearly.
To my sisters, you have been my source of laughter when life just wasn't that funny, and I look up to all of you.
PreacherDad.... this blog is about to get very long. Thank you for the extra year up north to do this right. Thank you for being the kind of Dad who doesn't babysit, but raises his child. Thank you for late night coffee, and for the countless dishes and laundry loads you did to keep our house running. Thank you for being my favorite colleague and my best friend. I love you!!!!

And then there are so many others.
Dr. Sanchez, for identifying my illness and sparing me the unnecessary agony of chemo.
Dr. Tracy Frederick, for putting me through the paces in college, so master's level work wasn't a total shock.
The Boucher family, for loving me like one of their own.
Plainfield UMC for creating an internship for me to spare me an extra commute
Beth and Jon Wilterdink- I would be embarrassed to list here the number of things I have asked of you, and I'm humbled by how willing you have been to help whenever you can.

And to the faculty & staff at G-ETS
The prayers you have lifted up for me have been deeply felt.
There are a few faculty who signaled to me at graduation last year, and mouthed the words "Next year that's you!" I simply cannot count the number of times that has carried me through a long night or a rough commute.
Others of you have kept your doors open, willingly answered anxious e-mails, and surprised me with your unwavering faith in me. I fear you will never understand how deeply it has impacted me.

Fellow students,
Oh my friends! Your cups of coffee, hugs, tears shed together, class notes shared and baby wrangling was indispensable to me.

When it is printed, the degree will have my name on it, but it is truly an accomplishment of many.

As the academic year draws to a close, to whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Red Shoes

There is a beautiful tradition at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary of wearing red shoes at graduation. In the past, this has primarily been a tradition of the women of G-ETS, but I hear rumors we may see some red shoes on our male colleagues. Fabulous, I say!

The tradition, though, fails to be beautiful if no one knows the story behind the shoes.

Why do we wear red shoes?

We wear red shoes to remind us of our place as courageous, outrageous women, and to celebrate the rich tradition of female scholarship at GETS.

What does wearing red shoes have to do with female scholarship?

It begins with a story that Georgia Harkness used to tell of her great-grandmother Abigail.

As Georgia told the story, "Abigail was not only not a quaker, but was known as a 'worldly woman,' who affronted neighbors by 'appearing out of plainness' and was referred to scornfully as ' the woman in the red coat.'

Whether because of the red coat or more abiding charms, she won the heart of Daniel Harkness and they were married in November, 1802."

In response, the Society of Friends presented Daniel Harkness with a letter of dismissal for marrying out of the meeting. To 'make satisfaction t o the meeting' he would only have had to say he was sorry he married her. But he was not sorry, and he would not say it!" Georgia stated flatly-and proudly.(Keller, 33)

Wait... Who was Georgia Harkness?

Georgia Harkness has become one of the legendary personalities of Garrett-Evangelical. She was the first professional female theologian in the United States. She served as the first ever Professor of Applied Theology at Garrett Biblical Institute from 1939-1950 before moving to California to teach at the Pacific School of Religion until 1961. In addition to her teaching she was a prolific author and hymn-writer. Most telling of her character, though, is a story she told of her struggle to be accepted the Ph.D. program of her choice.

Edgar Brightman, the distinguished professor of philosophy at Boston University and Georgia’s mentor in her doctoral program in the 1920s initially questioned whether she was that exceptional and whether he should take her as a Ph.D. candidate. He judged that “I had the preparation, probably the brains, but that I lacked the stick-to-itiveness.” Clear in her own mind, Georgia “told him that if that was all, I would see to that.” And she did. (Keller, 35)

Click here for a link to a much more in-depth look at Georgia’s life

So who decided we should wear red shoes?

The story of the woman in the red coat was recorded in a biography of Georgia Harkness’s life, For Such A Time As This written by Rosemary Skinner Keller. She feared that Georgia’s story, and with it, the history of women’s entry into professional theology in the US, might be lost. Keller was on faculty at Garrett-Evangelical from 1978-1996, and she served from 1993-1996 as the seminary’s first female Academic Dean. During her time on the G-ETS faculty she took to wearing red shoes to honor the legacy of Georgia Harkness and her great-grandmother Abigail Cochran. The tradition spread to other female faculty members, and has in recent years become a tradition of the student body.

Read more about Rosemary Skinner Keller here:

Our red shoes are not a privilege we earn, but a history we claim. We honor Georgia Harkness, Rosemary Radford Reuther, Rosemary Skinner Keller, and so many others with our red shoes. We claim our place in their legacy, and with it we accept the responsibility to continue to move the world forward, to maintain their history, and to advance theological thinking. We proclaim our willingness to be bold, to be ourselves, and to show the world how much stick-to-itiveness we have!

*I have pulled biographical information about Georgia and Rosemary from both of the links embedded in the post. In addition both quotes above, as well as addition biographical information about Georgia are from Rosemary Skinner Keller's biography of Georgia Harkness For Such a Time as This, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1992

Special Thanks go to Dr. Lallene Rector, Dr. Gennifer Brooks, and Dr. Ruth Duck for pointing me to the origins of our red shoes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Quick catch-up on the last month:

Sunny days in the backyard.

4 Holy Week services.

Easter Dinner

and preachermom scrambling to get her homework done. That's right folks, I'm 5 weeks from graduation, and the to-do list threatens to drown me, so the blogging will be sparse in the coming weeks.

Also, I can't resist posting this adorable shot of J in his new Dr. pajamas. Perhaps he'll grow upand cure "crazy colon" afterall.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Folks, it is spring!
We've had several beautiful sunny afternoons, and our family has been enjoying it!
Watch J running in the park video here.
or check out his adventure with puddles.
and don't miss PreacherDad teaching him some basketball.

My apologies that the videos are a bit fuzzy, they were taken on our phones.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What Grandpa taught me....

Grandpa B died on February 27th 2010. Since the night I learned of his death, I have been thinking about the blog post I would write about him. The trouble is, he wasn't the sort of guy you could sum up in a paragraph or two. The best way I can even begin to tell you about him, is to begin to tell you about the many things he taught me, or at least those he tried to teach me.

Grandpa and Dad were co-conspirators in teaching my sisters and I to fish. Here I should really say trying to teach us to fish. He endured many an outing that involved my older sister setting worms free, me cutting them in half (inspired by some Judy Blume book I think), one or more squealing little girls with a flopping wet fish hanging at the end of a taut line, and, the notorious time that he took all 4 of us fishing at once. Just as my youngest sisters had their lines thoroughly tangled with one another, my older sister caught a fish, reeled it in to the "taut hanging" stage, and began the squeal for grandpa to take it off the hook and release it. Yes. Release it. We girls were a bit "animal rights" about our fishing, and didn't take kindly to the whole kill 'em and eat 'em method of fishing. He laughed at us a lot on those trips, but I don't remember him getting mad or yelling or threatening never to take us out again. At least not in front of us.
He also tried to teach me bowling and how to catch a baseball. My failures in these arenas are not to be a reflection on him, I just didn't care.
He taught me how to read a map. On the long trips between Arkansas and Nebraska he would pass my older sister and I an atlas, tell us where we were, where we were going, and all along the way he would quiz us.
"What road do we need to take next? "
"Which direction are we going now?"
"What direction will we go next?"

He taught me how to dig up potatoes, and showed me how good freshly tilled soil felt on bare feet. He taught me that vegetables fresh from the garden taste better.
He showed me what survival looked like, and that people who want to survive have to be active participants in their own healthcare. Until his last years, I never knew a man who cheated less on his diet, or worked more diligently at his own rehab than my grandfather.
He taught me to love learning. He modeled a love of learning. He read until his eyesight failed and then he moved to large print books and read until he could no longer read those either.He bought us books, and took us to every museum in the Omaha area. I never visited him that he didn't want to know all about what I was learning. Through 4 college majors, he always showed the same genuine interest in what I was learning and doing in my classes.

Most of all he taught me that I could be smart, and that I was already loved, and that whatever I had to say was worth hearing. And all of this is just the short list.... Thank you, Grandpa, you are missed!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why parents are afraid of the quiet

You've all heard parents telling a story about their little one say, "and then I realized it was too quiet." After you've heard a few of these stories, you know that this is always the indicator that their precious little darling has gotten into some sort of mischief. Well here is mine. This afternoon I have a card table set up in the dining room to write a paper, allowing me to write and simultaneously keep an eye on J as he plays and wanders around the house. He loves that he can walk a big circle from living room, to dining room, through the kitchen, and back into our living room, occasionally taking a detour to open and close the study door repeatedly or to stop by and watch a few minutes of the never-ending stream of PBS kids on our tv.
This is what he was doing this afternoon, and I settled in with my laptop and books to write. In the background, I his hollers and jabbering let me know where he was, and I began to follow a train of thought in my paper. As I finished typing that paragraph, I noticed... quiet.
I glanced up.
He wasn't in front of the tv.
I called his name.
No response.
My mind began to race.
I got up and tried to find him. an open gate on the staircase up to the bedrooms stops my heart. I called his name.
Then...from somewhere upstairs, a giggle.
I raced up the stairs to find him very happily playing on the floor of my room. My heart rate is finally slowing down and I'm grateful that he's ok, but I realize now, all parents of toddlers are a little bit afraid of the quiet.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

trying to be green-ish...

My brain is working ahead to a possible Earth day event our church may be hosting or co-hosting this spring, and I'm thinking about the ways our family is trying to get
When I was pregnant, I wanted to go VERY VERY green. We signed on for a cloth diaper service (with coin laundry, doing our own seemed like guaranteed failure) and I decided to go with glass bottles when I returned to school and J needed to be bottle fed.
We did the cloth diapers for 2 weeks, but then my illness set in and... well, that all fell by the wayside. As for the glass bottles. My mom reminded me how much they would weigh in my diaper-bag as I tried to commute with baby... and we opted for something a little different. (Which would've happened anyway with our life situation, and because J only liked the playtex wide nipples, which don't fit on glass bottles)
But... months later, after moving into our parsonage and settling back into our lives, we did take some steps to "re-green" our parenting, but we're taking it in baby steps. (pun definitely intended)

In my illness, we had turned to playtex drop in bottles. They were perfect because they were easy to put in, fill, use, and throw away. After life started to settle down, we made the very easy switch to playtex ventair. J could hold them easily, and the wide ones use the same nipples he was used to with the drop ins. In addition to cutting down that horrifically plastic-y trash, it cut our costs, which was nice, especially since formula already costs so much. Then, we began our move towards greener diapering. We bought a gdiaper set up with gcloth inserts. We bought 6 outer pants, 36 gcloth inserts, and 2 extra snap-in liners. We already had a diaper champ, which can be used for cloth diapers (though if you're starting from scratch it isn't the BEST option out there)
Our experience with them has been pretty good overall. The gcloth had to be washed and dried 6x before use to "break them in" but that wasn't a big deal at all- a mere weekend project. We initially had some problems with a faint ammonia smell remaining in the diapers... I can't handle that. I got on the University of Google, and learned that we could use baking soda in the wash and vinegar in the first rinse, then a clean water second rinse. This solved the ammonia problem BUT... you should NOT USE VINEGAR ON THE OUTER PANTS OR SNAP IN LINERS... especially not the liners. This has resulted in the liners not remaining waterproof. Bummer.
The good news: I can replace them all for only about 20 bucks.
I am learning that some detergents can actually make the ammonia smell worse, so at the suggestion of some of my more devoted cloth diaper friends, I'm considering a trial of Maggie's Soap Nuts. I'll let you know if we get brave enough to try cleaning our laundry with tree berries!
There are definitely times when we still opt of the traditional, very un-green disposable diapers. When we travel, disposables really are easier. We have purchased some travel size wetbags, and had reasonable success gdiapering away from home during our Christmas vacation. We still use disposables at night, though I might like to make this switch as a part of my Earth Day pledge. Finally, from time to time, *Stuff* happens... lots and lots of it. When J was cutting his molars and reverted to 5-6 nasty, sticky, stinky, poopy diapers a day, I was not interested in rinsing that many cloth inserts in the toilet. On top of that, I've screwed up those snap-in liners, so, the gdiapers are getting a break until we get new ones.

So what's my point? There are lots of ways to go green, and many shades of green parenting. If you are a parent, or a parent to be, take it one step at a time, do what you can to go green, and when that becomes natural, take the next step. Going green is just like any other lifestyle change, it only works if you do it in a way that you can sustain in your less than ideal real life.

Friday, January 29, 2010

No Colon and still Rollin'

Today is the one year anniversary of my big surgery. For 365 days I have been without a colon. It has been a long, strange year in my life, and it has taken me through some of the hardest, darkest, scariest moments I have ever experienced. However, there was never a single day when my family and I couldn't find a something to laugh about. Think about it, if you're going to lose an organ, at least losing a colon gives you material for a lot of great jokes.
Poop jokes are funny, it is just a fact. Laughter really is the best medicine and I'm truly grateful for everyone in my life who has helped me laugh my way back into good health.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

random recipe to share

We had this for dinner last night with some fabulous friends who were kind enough to drive out into the suburbs to hang out. I didn't think to take a picture, but it is a great recipe because it is relatively healthy, cheap, and easy. Win, win and win!
You will need
1 pork loin or pork roast (I bought one for about $6)
A can of pineapple. I use the crushed so that it "coats" the roast.
Mrs. Dash Caribbean Citrus seasoning. (someday I will figure out a way to make this myself, but for now, this is easier)

To make a "sauce" to serve with it, you will also want to have corn starch on hand, and perhaps sweet chili sauce (optional)

Here's what you do. Rub the pork roast with the Mrs. Dash seasoning. Put it in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Pour the pineapple, juice and all, over the top of the roast. Put the lid on the slow cooker and leave it alone for the rest of the day. If you don't have a slow cooker, you can roast this in the oven on a low heat, say, 250 degrees, for a few hours, but I don't know how long it might take. you would want to use a meat thermometer to check doneness starting after the first 2 hours and testing hourly.

I suggest setting the roast out on a serving platter for 10-15 minutes to rest before cutting into it. This will also give you time to make the sauce if you want to. Reserve 1 cup of the juices from the slow cooker, pouring the rest into a pan (its fine if the pineapple chunks are in it too) mix the reserved juice with about a Tbs of corn starch, and then pour into the pan. Add 1-2 Tbs of sweet chili sauce to taste, and bring to a boil. Simmer just to thicken.

I love to serve this with rice or roasted potatoes, and a simple steamed veggie.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thank you, and Happy Birthday

A year ago today was one of the most bizarre days in our family history.
At around 3PM, My sister and I were both in hospitals a few miles away from one another. I was just waking up from a colonoscopy, and she was delivering her son, D. I knew she was at the hospital and in labor, and it gave me something positive to think about all day as I sat starving and waiting for my tests. I couldn't know going in how much I would need that source of joy when I woke up. I awoke, just as in that awful commercial, to a doctor leaning over me. "Preacher Mom," he said in a very quiet, very serious tone, "We found a mass, it's pretty big, it's probably cancer, we took biopsies. I'm going to go tell your husband." and then he left the room. I was still REALLY loopy from the sedative, so I just muttered "ok" and closed my eyes. A few moments later, I awoke again, with a vague memory of what he had said. I asked the nurse to repeat the news, hoping I had only dreamed the previous conversation. A tear ran down her cheek, and my heart sank. "Not Today" I thought... even then, groggy and sedated, or perhaps, because I was too groggy to comprehend its repercussions on my reality, I kept thinking about the fact that I wished D didn't have to share his birth story with my cancer diagnosis. I just knew I was ruining everything for my little sister, and somehow THAT was what devastated me first.
Soon after, as the medicine began to wear off, the reality of the word CANCER hit, and I became much, much more self-centered than that. My sister has never held that against me, and I will always be grateful to her for that grace, love and understanding. I will also always owe a debt to D for deciding to come into the world on that day. Stories of his birth were a welcome distraction when thoughts of my own situation swirled into a meaningless void. Pictures of his sweet little face and that adorable little mouth of his gave me a reason to smile when I felt I had none.
I am pleased to say, once again, that the doctors who told me I had cancer were wrong, but I am still grateful that memories of his birth are there to redeem the memory of that horrifying fear. Beyond the blessing he was just by choosing January 21st to be born, he has continued to be a blessing for every day of his little life. He and his mommy were some of my most faithful visitors and companions as I recovered from my proctocolectomy, and watching him grow and learn and play together with my son James has been an absolute delight. I also have to thank him for bringing me even closer to my sister, whom I love so very much. I can't wait to see what the next year holds for us all, Happy Birthday D.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Introduction to our family

Hi! I'm preacher mom. I assume that 95% of my audience will know me already, but in case someone ever wanders by to visit, here is an introduction.

I am a lot of things. I am a wife to one of the nicest human beings on the planet...and I mean that. Seriously, he is so nice that it is almost irritating to me at times, except that I am the number one recipient of his kindness and patience. Plus, I need it in my life to balance out my personality. I'm more of a no-nonsense, let me tell you what I think, type. I love people, and I love sharing God's love with them, but sometimes I need Preacher Dad's guidance in being a bit gentler with God's sheep.

As you can (I hope) deduce from the title, I'm also a pastor. Actually, I'm currently a pastoral intern, but I've been a pastor, and I'll return to being a pastor within the coming year. (God and the bishop willing) I am in my final months of seminary coursework, And I'm getting antzy to see where God takes us after I finish school. I serve at the same church where my husband is currently the associate pastor in charge of youth, which is a blast. We have served together before as co-pastors, and because we are polar opposites, I totally love it. I get such a kick out of seeing how we counter-balance one another, and how people respond to us.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly at this stage in my life, I am a Mommy. My son J is one year old, and is pretty much the center of our universe. Our lives revolve around him. My favorite hobby right now is giving him table food. He is learning to eat so many things right now, and it is so much fun to see him discover new tastes. He already eats things I didn't eat until I was a teenager, like hummus and falafel, or stir-fry, or cream of celery soup. He is as clever as can be, which means that a good portion of my day is spent trying to keep him from self-destruction as he happily discovers all sorts of thing that would make my friends with very childproofed homes shudder to think about.

The greatest blessing in my life is that Preacher Dad views all these things, our marriage, our ministries, and our child as cooperative undertakings; things we are called to do together. The reality of how we make that all work is the insanity I refer to in my title. We are a long way from having any idea how to juggle all the pieces. My hope is that this blog will be a way for you to come along with us on the journey, as we try to figure out what does, and what doesn't work for us.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Why I've started blogging, and why it took so long.

I've spent the last 3 months pondering whether the whole blogging thing was for me/us. The attraction is of course the narcissistic joy I get in having a forum to talk about whatever I want anytime I want, as well as the ability to share cute stories about James with friends and family we don't see nearly enough, intermingled with reaching out to my very smart friends when I'm processing something in the academic/professional sphere.
So what took me so long to finally do it? Well, for one, there is the immense pressure to pick a name. I don't mind my blog title a bit, I think it quite fitting actually, but the url I ended up with is a little ... meh. Oh well. Second, is my laziness. I have been trying to decide if there is room in my life for blogging. I've been watching a couple of blogs over these last few months though, and the way I see it, when I don't have time, I just won't blog. Simple as that. With all James's upcoming shenanigans, I think I'll have too much material NOT to post with some frequency.