Wednesday, October 26, 2005

New Job...

...well, in addition to my current job(s). I've been invited to help moderate the new discussion forums at Don't Be A Schmuck, the TC site for teens. I've even had the honorable title of "Funky Lump Master" bestowed on me. Something about my attitude, I guess...

So now my job list includes:
Funky Lump Master
Scrooge (i.e., Money Man) for the Daniel Boone Flying Club
Money Man for the Columbia Chorale
Chief Maintenance Officer, Financial Guru, and All-around Good Guy for The Rev

And those are my non-paying positions (financially speaking, though I get some pretty good fringe benefits from The Rev -- not including everlasting life and all that stuff)

And all this with one ball tied behind my back (well, actually, completely removed, but you get the picture...or do you?)

Suggested Reading

For those of you who enjoy a good read (and you know who you are), may I suggest any book by Christopher Moore. My personal favorite is Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal; Sarah just finished Practical Demonkeeping. Really, any book that makes you laugh out loud and also slightly offends you has to be good for your soul.

Well there you go. My finger on the pulse of classic American literature.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Previous Halloween Costumes

2002 Head Chef of the Russian Ballet

2003 - The "Perky" Reaper (Not Grim at all)

Putting hats to good use

I haven't used any of the chemo hats since I finished my treatment, but this seemed like a prime opportunity. Some nearby friends invited us to share in their daughter's 1st birthday party. The theme of the party was butterflies. I know you'll probably be suprised to hear this, but we didn't have any butterfly paraphenalia around the house (well, actually we do have a couple of butterfly finger puppets, but we couldn't find them). So I decided the next best thing was to wear a flower that would hopefully attract some butterflies. Looks like it worked.

I'll have to think of some good uses for the other chemo hats. Halloween is coming, and I didn't dress up last year, so I need to make up for lost time.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

What a weekend!

What a weekend! Know how I can tell? It’s already Wednesday and I’m just now coming out of the fog that I can get into when preparing for and helping to accomplish a huge event.

Our church had its annual Country Dinner, the 70th Annual dinner to be exact. The dinner has had many different manifestations over the years. It began in 1935 as a fried chicken supper. In 1952 it morphed into a Country Ham Dinner. A few years latter the two meals were combined with the men curing the ham for the dinner and the women sponsoring a craft bazaar. As history always seems to repeat itself, chicken has come back into the menu in the past few years, hence the name change from the Ham Dinner to the County Dinner, where we still have salt cured country ham, but also grilled chicken for those who don’t want to have to drink two or three gallons of water the next day to make up for what the salt absorbed from their system.

Fixing food has been a long tradition in the church that I serve; the women started serving dinners for public farm sales in February of 1914, using the money they raised to help with the upkeep of the church. That first year they raised $125. Amazing!

This year’s Dinner was a wonderfully chaotic success. In addition to the meal (ham/chicken, green beans, fried apples, coleslaw, baked or sweet baked potato, bread, dessert) and the bazaar (three rooms overflowing with craft items and fresh baked goods) we added a tent where folks could sit outside and eat while a local bluegrass band, Ironweed, played. For the kids there was a bounce house and a zip line (always a favorite, and probably the reason many of the kids love coming to our VBS each year), and a petting zoo with chickens, rabbits, goats, a sheep and a baby horse! Oh and puppies! They were soooo soft.

My job is to greet folks, but I found myself pulled to helping and supporting the members who were working the kitchen. We served at least 900-1000 people in 4 hours, about 200 of that were carry out meals. With seating for about 130, and a full meal to eat, and neighborhood folks that wanted to visit, it was amazing.

It helped that many took their food outside to enjoy the beautiful fall day. And it couldn’t have been a more perfect day, comfortable temperatures, the Mizzou game was early and many folks left it early (the team was really getting stomped) and showed up at our little country church. Plus two of our members did a media blitz on Thursday appearing on two radio stations and on TV station.

Another TV station, the local ABC affiliate sent one of their feature reporters out early on Saturday morning. He interviewed a few of us including a six year old boy who was here helping. Really, he was a great help, his mantra over the weekend was, “Rev. Sarah, do you have a job for me?” He helped me make brownies on Friday night. When interviewed and asked why we did the dinner his reply, “To celebrate Jesus.” What a great spokesperson this little one is.

The best part of the weekend for me is that the man in charge of the event gets his name called at least twice as much as I hear my named called. ;-) It is good to be able to not always be in charge.

Things are happening in this little church I serve. It is full of amazing people who are committed to being in ministry not just to the people that come into our church, but our whole community. Our dinner is a way to get folks in the door and share with them. Hopefully it will help them in some small way to know that they are always welcome here.

Those who served tirelessly on Saturday have a new appreciation of how our building limits our ability to welcome folks (well at least to have room to move in the kitchen and seating for those who eat). While I would never be in support of a new faculty that was used just for one day a year, I’m amazed as the many different things that we pack into our current facility on a regular basis. It is a good feeling when other pastors who live in the area say, “I never seem to go by your church at night when there aren’t cars there. You all have so much going on.” There seems to always be a need for more space.

I was reminded of it a few weeks ago when our building committee interviewed architects. The members of the committee where sharing all the needs they have identified that a new activity center could help to meet. It inspired me to hear the passion in their descriptions of what kinds of ministry would happen in a new space. After being hesitant myself, I was encouraged by their enthusiasm. I hope others find it contagious as well.

So, all that is to say that we are back in the swing of our busyness. Frank helped park cars on Saturday, I’m glad he willingly wears his farmer hat w/ the built in 50SPF. Having had chemo he’s more susceptible to developing skin cancer especially this year. He also had a blood test yesterday, the routine kind. This year he’s got blood test every two months and CT every 4 just to make sure none or that nasty little terratoma was left in his belly and has decided to grow. His next CT is in early December. After May 31, his surgery anniversary, the surveillance schedule backs off and by year five tapers to only going to the cancer box to say hi to the nice folks who helped to make him well.

I can honestly say that he’s back, feeling good and being Frank. I never really felt like he “went” anywhere, but it is good to have him "back" nonetheless. We are all so blessed to have him in our lives. I’m the luckiest girl; he’s my love and my anchor.

I get to go to KC at the end of this week for a “Clergy Boundaries Training”. It’s the biannual mandatory event for all serving in an United Methodist clergy position in the state of Missouri. It’s where we’re reminded that we deal with delicate situations in the lives of the people we serve and we best not take advantage by say, making a pass at or profiteering from someone in a vulnerable state. You know the situation: pastor leaves spouse and runs off with ______ (fill in church employee or volunteer position here) leaving a trail of tears and sadness not only for the pastor’s immediate family, but the whole congregation. I have never heard of a church that is able to fully recover from such a misuse of power on the part of the pastor. It is devastating. So while I don’t want to go, I will go and put my happy face on and try to learn so I can be better where I serve and support my clergy peers to be better where they serve.

Long post; thanks for “listening”.