Monday, June 23, 2014

Jealousy and Points

Daughter is jealous because I am on vacation this week and she still is at her house attending her day program.  Yesterday she tried to convince me that she needed to take this week off to get ready for vacation.  She had a number of arguments:

  • She was too stressed to work.
  • The workshop didn't have any work, anyway.
  • She needs a break from all the drama at the workshop.  
I listened and then pointed out that being at the workshop would distract her from her worries about v vacation.  I also pointed out that she gets very bored and frustrated when she's not at the workshop.  She acknowledged I had a point, and dropped the subject.

Last night she called me, "Good night to the mom who knows me too well and has too many good points."

I've spent my first day of vacation being very lazy.  I did get the lawn mowed between thunder storms.  I also listened to several lectures and sermons from the Festival of Homiletics.  I bought all the recordings last week.  I'm enjoying them tremendously.  I guess that's not technically a vacation activity, but I find it feeds my soul,and that is what I needed.  

Friday, June 20, 2014


I decided yesterday that it was past time for my arm braced to be washed.  It has to be washed by hand and air dried.  It is drying, but very slowly.  So, today I haven't been able to wear the brace.  I thought it would be okay, since I was not planning to do much.  I've been very careful, not doing much of anything.  My arm hurts.  It's probably bothered me more today than it has in months.  I am discouraged, to say the least.

I did manage to get everything done in the office yesterday.  I have a few emails to answer, and one sermon and a meeting, but then I will be on vacation.  I'm ready for vacation.  I'm ready for down time.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

One More

I have one more sermon, and then I'm on vacation.  I'm tired.  I'm more than ready for vacation.   Even with my exhaustion, though, yesterday was a good day.  Two people mentioned specific changes a spouse said they were going to make after hearing yesterday's sermon.  I was still getting good comments about the previous week's worship service, too. 

Daughter is confused by the fact that I've changed the pattern for this vacation.  I'm off a week before we head to our conference.  She will not be off that week.  I told her I needed a week of vacation before I'd be ready for her.  Administrative Assistant said yesterday that she's noticed I'm getting grumpy and I'm ready for vacation. 

I got a call today about Daughter's insurance.  I get so tired of dealing with their mistakes.  So tired.  I wish I could take a vacation from that. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Yesterday I was at a regional church meeting all day.  They aren't my favorite thing to do.  This one wasn't too far away-- just over an hour.  I went with a colleague, which made for a pleasant drive.  Administrative Assistant complained.  She had people in and out of the office all day.  She said she now knows what my Mondays are like. 

Daughter was talking about how much she enjoyed her house yesterday.  Today she called and told me she needed to talk to her Case Manager ASAP.  She is ready to move out.  She wants her own apartment.  I reminded her that yesterday she like her house.  I also informed her that we wouldn't be talking about anymore freedom for her until she had gone a full year without eating extra food or taking extra insulin.  She was not happy. 

This evening she informed me she thought she might just want to stay home tomorrow instead of working at the church.  I reminded her she'd said she didn't want to stay in the house.  I also told her she could do whatever she wanted, but she had to let me know what she was doing this evening.  She asked if the work would be waiting for her next week.  I assured her it would.  She called about an hour later to announce she's going to be at the church tomorrow. 

It should be interesting.  I've gotten very good at not getting sucked into her drama.  I think she finds that very frustrating.  

Monday, June 9, 2014


Yesterday was Pentecost, the day when the church celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit.  We revealed our new vision statement, and 4 members got up to talk about some aspect of it.  3 of them gave testimonies, which is not something that generally happens in our denomination.  They all got applause.  They all deserved it, because they did an amazing job.  The Holy Spirit was at work among us yesterday, and it was wonderful.  There have been a number of good comments posted on facebook about the worship service, which is nice.  Even Daughter told me how much she liked the service. 

I realized today how stressful the build up had been.  We also unveiled our revamped logo, and the company that was making a clean copy of the logo we designed needed 3 attempts to get it right.  This morning I felt much lighter.  Of course, the fact that there are only 2 more sermons until vacation undoubtedly helped, too. 

Tomorrow I have an all day meeting, so this will be a short week.  Fortunately, I already have some ideas for this coming Sunday.  Now that I'm less stressed, hopefully I'll work more efficiently. 

Friday, June 6, 2014


Daughter deleted all my phone numbers from her phone.  She was mad at me.  Why was she mad at me?  Because I wasn't happy when she went to sleep after I told her what time I would pick her up yesterday morning.  I called her 8 times on my way there, and she didn't answer the phone.  She knew I was coming and that she was supposed to be watching for me.  I was picking her up at 8:30, and she knew that.

When confronted with her misdeeds, she works hard at becoming the victim.  She got my home number, but wanted my cell and church number.  I told her she'd have to wait.  She threatened to delete me again.  I told her that was fine, but she was going to have to live with the consequences of her actions for a while. 

She eventually turned it around and did her usual work yesterday, but it was not a very pleasant day.  I basically ignored her.  I had plenty to do, so it was easy to ignore her.  I kicked her out of my study when I was meeting with a couple about a wedding, and she went from pouting to working at that point. 

Not that I'm counting, but 3 sermons to vacation.  I haven't done anything today.  I'm so ready for that vacation....

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


So since Monday night's meeting, I've had three different people directly or indirectly express frustration with some of the negative comments that were made.  One of the women commented about a man who said he felt worship was lacking "a spark" and had become routine and boring, "I wanted to ask him what that said about his spiritual life."  Another woman emailed a document she was working on and told me how much she'd appreciated my sermons recently. 

I know we have a great deal of variety in worship.  I know we try new things.  I know that I work hard to vary the sermon style.  I know that attendance is steadily increasing. I also know that different things speak to different people.  Apparently what we are doing is not speaking to some people.  I will continue to seek to change things up.  Right now, my focus is getting through the next 3 sermons.  In less than 3 weeks, I'll be on vacation.  I will start by sleeping, probably for a good long time. 

I also know that at the July meeting, I am going to ask the board to talk about the priorities for how I spend my time.  Do they want me doing more pastoral care?  Do they want me doing less reading?  If I do less reading, do they understand that will have an impact on both sermon quality and the leadership education I do? 

I have no idea where that conversation will go.  I'm hoping that I will return from vacation with the energy to juggle more things.  This week, in addition to the normal things, I'm meeting with a couple about getting married (they are both in their 80's-- a neat couple).  I'm being asked to sign off on a number of publicity pieces for the new vision.  I've needed to give feedback on the reworking of our website.  At some point I'll need to write some new content for it, but that may need to wait until after vacation.  I also have 2 end of the year dinners for the choirs.  I'd like to skip the one tonight, but I know that would raise questions, so I'll go.  I will probably leave early, though.  I'm tired. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tired and Grumpy

I am tired and grumpy as vacation approaches (3 more sermons).  Last night's meeting with our worship and education folks didn't help.  We have one worship service on Sunday, yet all of these things were asserted as fact last night:
  • We don't sing enough traditional hymns.
  • All we ever sing are traditional hymns.
  • 90% of the music we sing the congregation doesn't know.
I could go on, but you get the idea.  They didn't even recognize that they were contradicting themselves.  Two of the women sitting across the table from me were staring at me, waiting to see if I would blow up.  I just sat there.  One of them finally got angry, as she has been involved in picking music and knows the care we take with it.

I told Administrative Assistant that it looks like the honeymoon is over.  It is impossible to please them all, especially since their demands are contradictory.  I am tired and grumpy.  This Sunday we will be announcing our new vision statement, and I suspect that that is creating some anxiety.  We have been dealing with a great deal of change, and the congregation is growing, which also creates anxiety.  When I'm not able to remain calm, it increases the anxiety, and people end up complaining about singing too many traditional hymns and not enough traditional hymns and don't realize that it is contradictory.  

Because of Daughter, I know that what they're complaining about is not the real issue.  I know I'm a target, and I don't necessarily deserve the things being tossed my way.  I'm tired and grumpy, though, which makes it harder to deal with all of this in a constructive manner.   I spent some time with my journal this morning, and that helped.  I think once the new vision statement is announced, that will help, too.  It really does grow out of our identity and formalizes what we are already doing.   I have yet to hear from anyone who doesn't like it.  Hopefully that will continue.  3 more sermons, and I will have 4 weeks to recover.  When I return, I won't be tired and grumpy. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Daughter's Heart

In worship I always ask for joys and concerns prior to the prayer time.  On the way to church, Daughter asked me to pray for one of her current house mates.  She's been having a hard time and creating chaos in the house.  Daughter said, "I know she doesn't mean to.  She just can't stop herself."  I was impressed with her empathy towards this woman who she finds so annoying.  When I asked during worship, prayers were requested for the daughter of a shut-in member.  Her daughter was just diagnosed with breast cancer, and is facing surgery.  She is having a difficult time understanding it.  Daughter knows this woman-- they were housemates in her first placement, and she still sees her regularly when all the group homes go to the VFW for jazz night. 

Daughter was sitting in the front row, and I could see her reaction.  She had a look of shock, and then her eyes filled with tears.  She began to cry, but she was working hard to control it.  I suspect I'm the only one who saw her crying.  I went over and placed a hand on her shoulder as I continued to collect prayer concerns.  We had a conversation about her friend on the way home.  I mentioned all the women she knows who are breast cancer survivors, and I suggested she make a get well card for her and pray for her.  When I dropped her off at home, she was planning what the card would look like. 

She has a heart full of compassion.  Yes, she can create drama and be attention seeking, and she has a good heart. 

In other news, today our attendance was excellent-- Easter was the only Sunday this year it was higher.  It's great to see the growth taking place.  One of the women who has been visiting brought a friend with her today.  I think we will have more people than I thought joining the church in a couple of weeks.  I'm grateful for the growth we are experiencing.  We now have 24 raised garden beds, and all of them have been taken, most of them by people in the community.  Our neighbors are surprised when they call and find out the beds are free.  It's our gift to them.