Monday, May 30, 2011

North Dakota Beauty

We took in some beautiful sites today!
First, family in Fargo...then Salem Sue (ND's largest Holstein)
 and the Badlands!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

its the final countdown!

Updated countdown:
                                  3 days left in Minnesota for the Princess and the Pastor
                                 .5 days left of daycare for the Princess
                                  1 more big surge of moving and hauling for the Pastor
                                  too many goodbyes left to count

Our countdown isn't so much about numbers anymore. Our time left in MN is difficult to measure, I can't say exactly how many boxes need packing or how many goodbyes need saying...its an odd, fluid existence at the moment. While the Princess has just a few more days of routine and “normal” left, the I kissed routine goodbye two weeks ago! Now, I spend my days alternating between packing/taking care of paper work/hauling boxes and having coffee dates/pedicures/dinner parties – as someone who really doesn't like being out of routine, I think I could get used to this new rhythm. Of course, that's really just the daily rhythm. My own inner drum is beating in some seriously crazy patterns! I flux between feeling overwhelmed and then calm...exhausted and then exhilarated...terrified and then secure.

Today I had to revamp a lot of things, alter expectations and most recently the changes were made to our road-trip plan. Montana weather just wasn't cooperating so I grumped for awhile and then changed our campsite reservations to hotel reservations. When the Princess heard that we would be staying in places with hot-tubs rather than campfires she said, “This is going to be awesome!”  

Even with all trepidation I'm feeling...I think she may be right! 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Goodbye sweetheart, now its time to go

The Princess has always been a sensitive heart and as my father once said, “she's a real mama's girl”. Most of the time I delight in these two truths about her. I love her perceptive eye, her concern for what's happening around her and I love that she always has a big, running hug for me every-time we're reunited.

The down side to these two truths about the Princess is saying goodbye. I would guess that 6.5 out of 10 times that we say goodbye at daycare it is dramatic, tear-filled and heart-wrenching. Even when the Princess gets to stay with some of her favorite people in the whole-world the goodbye needs to consist of a fast hug and an even faster exit. I have learned to grow a (somewhat) thick skin to these goodbyes, but most of the time it still tugs at my heartstrings and I still dread every goodbye we have to say.

We are saying a lot of “goodbyes” these days. While I mentioned our trip up north in my last post, I neglected to say that we spent time with some really important people. For example, from the time she was two months old, the Princess has been blessed beyond blessed to be adopted by “Grandpa Greggie and Grandma Andrea”. So, over the weekend she spent time water the garden, swimming in the hot-tub, playing in the “Princess room” and getting lots of sweet love and attention (while the weary Pastor worked, socialized and rested...we're both blessed beyond blessed). When it came time to leave the Northlands the Princess cried...big, alligator tears for a good long while. That's when it hit me that I am not the only one saying goodbye and she is old enough to grasp what moving means now for our most important relationships.

There is a long quote from Frederick Buechner, (one of my all time favorite writers) which talks about the effect of goodbyes and remembering. Now, I realize we are only moving away for one year, so I do not wish to get all crazy-dramatic about that one year. However, this transition has really made me ponder what makes us “us”. We are “us” because of our relationships, and moving away from these relationships changes how we live into our “us-ness”. I know its only a year, but its a year when we will both really feel the distance, the newness, the fear, the unknown. I am trusting it will also be a year that we will both feel bonded together, growing together, adventuring together.

Its that in-between time when we're saying goodbyes, 
anticipating hellos
taking life one day at a time.

When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart. For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost. When I'm feeling most ghost-like, it is your remembering me that helps remind me that I actually exist. When I'm feeling sad, it's my consolation. When I'm feeling happy, it's part of why I feel that way. If you forget me, one of the ways I remember who I am will be gone. If you forget, part of who I am will be gone. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” the good thief said from his cross, there are perhaps no more human words in all of scripture, no prayer we can pray so well.”

                                                                                                                          Frederick Buechner

Monday, May 16, 2011

Psalm 23

This past Sunday the Princess and the Pastor traveled north to be with the amazing people of Calvary Lutheran Church.  The Pastor was invited to preach and preside which is always an honor, but it is particularly meaningful in that congregation--so much love and support all squeezed into one Sunday morning!  Below is a (very short!) cutting from the sermon.                    

                 "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies..."
                                                                                                                       Psalm 23:5

This is depression glassware, made during our countries great depression in the 1930s. During this time of great economic struggle and suffering this glassware was very inexpensive and was even used to entince consumers as it was often found packaged in food boxes or given away with the purchase of movie tickets. It was easily made and distributed around the nation and I am guessing it was a welcome gift to those who struggled to get food on the table, let alone a nice dish on which to serve the food.

This particular design of depression glassware is called "Manhatten" and my mother began collecting it when I was a child. Every road trip my family took always included stops at antique shops so my mom could see if she could find just one more piece of the collection – my brothers and I were less than patient with this antiquing. My mother passed away a few years after she started the collection, so my father took it up. Now he was the one stopping in every antique shop he could find to complete what my mother had started, and when I grew up and left home he passed this collection of depression glassware onto me.

This simple set became our families' version of fine china. We certainly didn't use it every day, no, we only took the Manhantten out for holidays or special occasions and we were never allowed to put it in the dishwashers because it chips so easily. I always thought it odd that we used the dishes my mother collected to every Christmas dinner, or Thanksgiving feast we were reminded of her and reminded of her death. I suppose setting the table had become an act of faith, because in the face of death...we live. It seems ubsurb, paradoxical, yet this is the way of God.

"you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies...
even in the presence of death"

So we come to the table and we remember Jesus who stoods up to all of our enemies and responds with love. Love so strong and so wide that it encompasses all of who we are and we are changed, our world is changed. And we remember Jesus who stood up to the enemy we will all come to...the enemy of death. The words "Jesus body broken for you and the blood of Christ shed for you" are spoken. Hear the words "For you" and know that Jesus conquered death for you and for your enemies, Jesus conquered death so that you will live!

                             "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies..."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mama said there'd be days like this

Mother's day. I will probably never experience a mother's day like I always envisioned I would – breakfast in bed, mimosas, pedicures and flowers (in fact, I don't know ANY mothers that are experiencing that today). Instead the Princess insisted on “making” me breakfast (because enough adults told her she had to) so we set up the coffee pot and toaster last night and this morning she very proudly poured the coffee and toasted a waffle. Best breakfast ever.

The life I've been given has taught me that motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes and I really have been blessed by women (and men) who have stepped into my life and now who have stepped into Micaela's to fill in the gaps or provide their own unique flavor. I've always celebrated Mother's day a little differently and probably always will, so this is my non-traditional mother's day tribute.

My mother raised me for nearly ten years, and then other amazing people were willing to do those motherly-duties, such as...

...the home-ec teacher who walked around the mall with a mortified pre-teen, helping me find my first bra. It was a truly embarrassing, yet educational afternoon.

...the dear family friend who bent over the bathroom sink (twice!) and treated my head for lice. My poor father was so busy ridding the house of the pest that we really struggled to get it out of my abundance of hair.

...the piano teacher who biked all the way across town just to stay with me when I was home sick.  And gave me extra hugs after every lesson.

...the aunt who mothered from afar, and even had her Minnesota friends take me to lunch when the opportunity arose, just to talk about “girl things”.

...the lady who spent afternoons teaching me how to make Christmas cookies and properly wrap Christmas gifts.

...the friend's mom who offered compassion and an always, always open door as I struggled as an adolescent.  I think I spent more night's in her home than my own throughout elementary and middle school and it still feels like "home" every time I go back.

...the brother who ran to the store and proudly bought girl-products as needed.

...the brother who always offered a shoulder after a break-up.

...the dad who made hot-chocolate after a failed audition, became a really excellent cook (after one horrible incident with chicken and a can of orange soda) and while he did not enjoy shopping with me, he at least offered some cash and a good friend to take me school shopping every year.  

...the young moms now gone. I now know that a mother's love is so strong it transcends time, even a short while can leave a lasting imprint.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Easter signs

It has been ten days since Easter morning (Alleluia!) and the princess and the pastor have been seriously experiencing some Easter glory.  No, not just sugar-induced, spirit-inspired highs (although that certainly has helped)...we are facing A LOT of uncertainty yet almost every day I have gotten a glimpse, or a whole eye-full of God’s faithfulness.  

A top 10 of sorts (in chronological order, not ranking all the awesomeness)...
10. Easter morning -- He is Risen!

9.  Spend Easter afternoon basking in the sun
         (if you live in MN, you know how amazing that was!) 

8.  Be blown away by the kind-hearted people who... 
     sit and drink wine, have heavy conversations, haul heavy things, watch the princess in a pinch

7.  Preach an Easter message at, scary and encouraging

6.  Spend a night in a cozy cabin with all the college ladies
         ...laughing, game-playing,talking, drinking and more talking

5.  Spend a night in a cozy cabin with college roomie
            ...eating popcorn and talking about EVERYthing imaginable

4.  See godson profess his faith and be confirmed...inspiring!

3.  Spend a day with the princess full of smiles and working hard on those worries

2.  Eat first picnic of the season with the princess, temps above 60!

1.  It has been almost a year since my dear friend B passed away, yet not a day passes that I don’t think of her, or hear her laugh, or think of all the inappropriate jokes she would be cracking.  This year, each time I hear the Easter message -- He is risen! I feel a deeper sense of blessed assurance and a very tangible sense of gratitude for the gift of life everlasting.  I am celebrating Easter this year, even while mourning, and am quietly witnessing that Christ is risen and so will we, so will B.  Alleluia!

Christ is Risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! Amen!