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Showing posts from November, 2010

First Monday of Advent

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Looking back on my time at my church, I think that I can designate an easy label for each year that I've been here according to the general events or emotions that characterized it. For instance, the first year was the Year of Disillusionment, as I was disabused of quite a few notions about local church ministry that year. My second year was the Year of Meh, as I can't really recall anything monumental happening. My third year was the Year of Establishment, during which I felt I was finally beginning to feel "settled in." And so it goes.

Yesterday marked six years at my church. Looking back on the past year, I think I'd call it the Year of Grief. I call it that because I did quite a lot of wrestling with a sense of old pieces of my identity passing away. I actually processed quite a bit of it on this blog. There was the sense that a place where I figured out who I was has greatly changed in the past six years. There was wondering how to cope with living i…

Pop Culture Roundup

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I finally finished The Fellowship of the Ring. I don't have a whole lot more to say about that, other than to point out how anticlimactic the ending was. I mean, yeah, it's the first of three books, and so there's more to come. But the book has little to no movement at all. They talk and talk and talk, they travel someplace else and talk and talk and talk, and sometimes they sing in addition to talking. And then Frodo decides to keep on traveling to Mordor. The end. Awesome. Give me a year or so to forget what this was like, and I may be ready to read the next one.

So I started The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Set in Sweden, we meet Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist trying to recover from a libel trial who is hired by an elderly millionaire to solve the decades-old mystery of his missing niece. We also meet Lisbeth Salander, a pierced, tattooed (one's a dragon) investigator who I presume will eventually help him out. I'm not far enough into the book for that…

Thanksgiving Perspective

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The Game is this Saturday. Michigan's probably going to lose again. It's upsetting, but not life-ending.

In the meantime, today and tomorrow the Coffeehousehold is going to enjoy Thanksgiving fixins'...twice. Her family comes today, my family comes tomorrow. Coffeeson gets to hang out with both sets of grandparents, we'll eat way too much, we'll play board games, we'll be glad to be together.

We'll be doing this in the house we moved into just a year ago.

On Sunday, I'll celebrate six years of ministry with my church.

There's a lot to be thankful for; all of it much more important than a football game.

Thanksgiving blessings be with you and yours.

(But if Michigan does somehow pull it off, brace yourself for six years of pent up frustration to be unleashed.)

Unexpected Thanksgiving Meme

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From the RevGals:

Name five things that were unexpected in your life that you are now grateful for.

1. Moving to my "hometown." In 7th grade, we moved...again. I hated it, it took me years to get over it, and I still hate the sight of the building where I went to junior high. Nevertheless, I've considered the past couple years just how much positivity came out of that move. Once I got to high school, I came out of my shell in many ways that helped shape my identity for the rest of my life so far: first love, an increased interest in learning an instrument, a cultivation of theatre talents, and discernment in faith and vocation. That all started happening in high school, and set me on the path that I'm still on today in many ways. And it all started with a move that I hated at the time.

2. Getting the third cat. We didn't intend to get a third cat. I was happy with just two. But for a while, Coffeewife had a thing about visiting the Humane Society every once…

Pop Culture Roundup

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I'm less than 50 pages from the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, and for whatever reason I just can't sit down and do it. It won't leave me, as if it has some sort of control over me. The only way to truly be rid of it is to drop it in the fire out of which it was formed, lest Sauron use it for his own evil purposes. We must travel to the far mountain region of Bawitdaba, at which time we shall meet the good people of that land. Lion-O shall accompany us, he and the mighty Chewbacca. Vouchsafe, we must travel in the shadows or be discovered by the Heffalhumps and Woozles that will no doubt seek to overtake us.. 'Tis the only way we will be rid of this dreadful curse forever. Gird your loins, friends, and take only that which may be necessary. But fear not, for I carry the Sword That's Missing Its Handle. Although it is painful to hold, I know it will do us well, for it was forged by Man-At-Arms himself. Onward, my brave companions!

We went to the midnigh…

Hint Fiction: No More Words

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I'm tired of talking. That's why I brought the axe.

(An explanation.)

Nap Time

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When we first brought Coffeeson home from the hospital, he didn't want to be put down. Whenever we'd set him in his crib or in the side sleeper we kept in our bedroom, he'd start crying, even if he was sound asleep when we'd done so. For at least the first couple nights, we took turns holding him all night long. I watched a lot of early morning Comedy Central; I have no idea what Coffeewife did because I'd pass into a mini-coma when it was her turn.

After quickly deciding that this wasn't going to work for very long, I came up with the idea to start setting him in his carseat at night. He seemed to still like the position he was in while in the womb: somewhat curled up and surrounded by something secure and warm. Being flat on his back was something new and uncomfortable for him, so this was why he preferred to be nuzzled against one of us. So, in an effort to get him to sleep and to preserve our sanity, we placed him in his carseat, blanket underneath and…

Pop Culture Roundup

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With less than a hundred pages to go, The Fellowship of the Ring has finally been growing on me. The felt need to mention so many names of people or places for no other reason than adding (and adding and adding) to backstory is still incredibly irritating. That, and skipping the songs makes reading go faster. There's been more movement in the story as well. That said, of course, it'll probably be a while before I decide to pick up The Two Towers.

We watched Iron Man 2 this past week, where Tony Stark is even more narcissistic due to his newfound fame as Iron Man. At the same time, the device in his chest that has been keeping him alive is also starting to poison him, which only seems to fuel his devil-may-care style. Eventually, he runs up against Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), a physicist who holds a grudge against Stark for what the company did to his father. Chaos ensues. Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson show up in support roles as part of a secret organization …

Veterans Day Prayer

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From an article on the UCC website:
God, we give you thanks today for our nation's veterans. We honor them for their faithful service to our country, and for what they have done to defend and preserve our freedom. Generation after generation, young men and women have answered our country's call. And as a result, their lives have been changed forever.

We are grateful to all who have served, whether in peacetime or in periods of conflict. But today we especially remember those who have been tempered by fire, those who continue to bear wounds of the body or the spirit as a result of what they endured. They lie in our veterans' hospitals or struggle for recovery in rehabilitation centers; they suffer from post-traumatic stress and survivor' guilt; they yearn for peace in their souls.

Dear God, we ask you to heal their wounds, to banish whatever inner demons may haunt them, and to give them peace within so they may return fully to their families and to society.

We thank you, Go…

Into an Intentional Future

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A couple Saturdays ago, I attended my Association's fall meeting. It was a historical, turning-point sort of meeting, shared with the Association to our north, as each voted to enter into more of a shared relationship featuring the restructure of staff. I go to these things more to enjoy time with colleagues and, if applicable, to experience churches around the Association that I've never visited before.

I'd been to this one a couple times. We'd had a meeting just a few years earlier at this same location. Still, I've always found the structure impressive. The sanctuary, just a few years old, is a large open space. It's a modern take on New England Congregational styles: bare white walls, pews set in a crescent shape, clear windows to let in plenty of natural light. The chancel is fairly large, allowing for plenty of space for movement, with a long communion table set against the back wall. To the right of the chancel is a large choir loft; to the left a…

Turning the Corner

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"Daddy sad."

These were the words uttered by Coffeeson late Saturday afternoon. I had just broken down sobbing, an unexpected and involuntary action in response to what many may deem a silly cause. Nevertheless, there I was, sitting on the floor leaning up against the couch, my face in my hands, tears welling up.

On my television screen were a bunch of kids, ages 18-22, clad in maize and blue jerseys, jumping all over the field. They were smiling, laughing, hugging. And along with them, 110,000 people were going absolutely crazy, happy to join in the celebration.

The Michigan Wolverines had just beaten the Illinois Fighting Illini, 67-65, in triple overtime. My brother had texted me saying he'd just run laps around his apartment. I myself had also thrown up my hands, screaming my head off...which eventually gave way to the crumpled ball of mush that caused my son to worry if I was okay.

I don't cry at the outcome of sports games very often. In fact, I can count th…

BOWL ELIGIBLE.

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Congrats, guys. You're over the hump. Go Blue!

November Snow

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"In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy." ~William Blake

Pop Culture Roundup

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The Fellowship of the Ring has gotten better, but it's still far from my favorite read for the year. It's not a book that I feel very inspired to pick up because I'm eager to see what happens next. Like, I never think, "Whoa, what's going to happen to Frodo? I'd better keep reading..." No. Not really. I thought I'd be much more into this than I am. I only read it while I rock Coffeeson on the weekends, so I'll probably be at this for a couple more weeks at least. In the meantime, I found a review on Amazon that named my feelings so amazingly and hilariously perfect:
Just wanted to vent a bit on Tolkien's "masterpiece". Oy. Why does everybody love this stuff so much? I don't get it. I didn't read it when I was in puberty, so maybe I missed some nostalgic connection to it. The plot is:

* Ring bad, if evil guy gets, enslaves world
* Good guys must destroy ring
* Travel
* Fight bad guys
* Travel
* Fight bad guys
* Travel
* Fight b…

The Kind of Thing That Happens

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I officiated a funeral this week. It was for an older gentleman, the patriarch of one of the church's large families. He'd been dealing with Alzheimer's for the past seven years, longer than I've been at the church. As a result, I've been wondering what he was like before the illness started creeping in.

The family shared plenty of stories during the service that helped paint a picture of who he was. And I do have my own memories of him, of course. When his wife would bring him to worship, he'd make it a point to thrust out his hand to me in silly, dramatic fashion, a huge grin on his face. The thing was, he'd only do it if I had my robe on...he didn't recognize me otherwise. This was a fun moment that the two of us were able to share for as long as he was able to attend.

The family and I went through our preparations for the service: choosing hymns and scriptures, sharing memories, figuring out extra elements that they'd want. All five of his…

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